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It is as puzzling as it is miserable to watch your dog endlessly lick paws, bother a rashy tummy, rub his oozy nose and eyes into the carpet, develop itchy lesions and lose fur.
To solve the mystery of what is tormenting your pet, you need a Jacksonville veterinarian who is familiar with canine skin problems. The Animal Hospital of Onslow County, 296 Doctors Dr., Jacksonville, NC, can diagnose and help ease your dog's discomfort.
Common culprits are allergies; parasites including fleas, ticks and mites; skin infections such as fungal ringworm; and licking of irritated areas that creates hot spots.
Similar to people, some dogs react allergically to substances they inhale or that touch their skin. This may occur seasonally or all year round and be caused by pollens, dust mites or other particles in their environment. True food allergies (unlike intolerances) may also cause itchiness.
Allergy skin testing involves a vet shaving part of your pet's fur, performing needle scratches and applying tiny amounts of suspected allergens. Hives (small itchy lumps) indicate allergic response.
Although allergies aren't curable, they can be minimized through antihistamines, soothing baths, changes in diet and cleanup of your pet's environment, such as frequent washing and vacuuming of bedding.
Fleas. Always itchy, flea bites are especially difficult for dogs allergic to them. Scratching the bite may lead to hair loss and skin infection. This may require antibiotics as well as flea control products, such as powders and collars.
Ticks. Aside from causing serious internal diseases, ticks can cause itchy sore areas on your dog's skin. To remove a tick, grasp the tick with tweezers close to the skin's surface and pull straight out with even pressure. Clean the wound with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. If the bite area remains irritated, visit a vet at our Jacksonville animal hospital for diagnosis and medication.
Mites. Two kinds of mites include the non-contagious demodex mite that lives in a dog's hair follicles and the contagious sarcoptic (scabies) mite. Both cause fur loss (mange). Whereas scabies can result in a scale-like rash, demodectic mange may cause red skin but little itching. Treatments include oral and topical medications.
Ringworm is one of a number of fungal infections dogs can get. They usually come into contact with the fungus in soil. People get circular ringworm lesions. However, dog lesions may be irregularly shaped.
Diagnosis in pets requires culturing the fungus from the lesion. Oral and topical treatments wipe it out, but your dog may be contagious for months.
Any itchy or sore irritation may result in a pet relentlessly licking it. This moisture may lead to an infection called a hot spot.
When dog skin conditions flare, it is time to call us at the Animal Hospital of Onslow County. Monday through Friday, we're here 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to help your pet be healthier and comfortable.
Dr. Corry has always gone above and beyond for the care of our family's pets.
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