Canine Skin Disease

Canine skin disease is common in dogs and may take different forms. The symptoms of canine skin diseases range from light skin irritation to severe secondary bacterial infections. Detecting the signs of skin disease is important to apply treatment and restore the dog’s health.

Skin Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of skin disease in dogs will vary according to the bacteria or fungi that cause the disease. The most common symptoms that will be present in all types of skin infection include skin itchiness and dryness of skin.

Bacterial Skin Infections

If the infection is caused by bacteria the common symptoms will include:

  • Yellow pustules at the skin surface, which occur in the early stages of the disease
  • Skin itchiness, which will cause scratching, biting and licking of the affected areas
  • Redness of skin
  • Dry, crusty skin, in more developed stages of the infection
  • Foul odor of the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Secondary infections caused by excessive scratching and biting of the affected areas

The symptoms may occur on the entire surface of the body, but may be more common on the trunk of your pet and the chin area.

Fungal Skin Infections

If the infection is caused by fungi (i.e. an overgrowth of yeast cells or the ringworm) the symptoms will include:

  • Bald, ring shaped patches ( caused by the ringworm fungi)
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Secondary infections caused by excessive scratching and biting of the affected areas; pus may also be present if the infection is not treated

Flea Skin Disease Symptoms

The most common form of dog skin disease is caused by fleas. The disease is also known as flea allergy dermatitis. The disease occurs in more sensitive canines that will be allergic to the flea bites and the flea saliva will cause the allergic reaction. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Red, irritated skin
  • Hot spots
  • Compulsive biting and frequent scratching
  • Hair loss, even bald patches
  • Visible fleas and feces (dark in color)

The dog is more likely to experience these symptoms in the tail and head area.

Detecting the Problem

The skin infection must be treated to help your pet and relieve the uneasiness. The vet will perform a few tests to determine the cause of the infection.

Skin scraping tests and fungal cultures are helpful in detecting the bacteria or fungi that may cause the infection. The symptoms displayed by your pet will also help the vet find the problem.

Treatment for Skin Infections

The treatments may consist of topical ointments containing antibiotics, fungicides or steroids.

The vet may also recommend special rinses that will speed up the elimination of the bacteria or fungi.

If the dog has fleas, these should be eliminated.

If the infection is caused by an underlying disease, this should also be treated.

Anti inflammatory medication or ointments can be prescribed.

Treating skin infections may take a long time, especially when treating fungi that reproduce at an alarming rate.