Diagnosing Dog Eczema

Dog eczema is a skin condition that causes skin inflammation in pets. Although the causes of eczema differ, the symptoms are similar. Most pets experience discomfort due to the itchiness and inflammation present. Pets may also develop oozing sores due to excessive itching. Eczema can develop in pets of all age ranges and varying breeds. However, pets with long hair coats are more susceptible to skin irritation and eczema during the summers. In addition, pets that aren't groomed routinely are susceptible to dermatitis and hot spots.

Identifying Dog Eczema

Pets suffering from eczema develop hotspots on the flank and face. The excessive itching can lead to secondary bacterial infections with discharge or pus. There's visible inflammation or crusty skin accompanied by localized hair loss. Although there are several topical treatments available to cure eczema, it's necessary to identify the cause of infection to take preventive measures in the future.

Most Common Causes of Dog Eczema

  • Allergens in the home such as detergents, perfumes, deodorizers and bleach
  • Allergens present in the environment such as pollen, smoke and dust
  • Impulsive itching or itching due to boredom
  • Hypersensitivity to ingredients in food
  • Seasonal changes

Diagnosis of Dog Eczema

In order to treat eczema, it's necessary to determine the overall health conditions of the dog and rule out other skin conditions similar to eczema. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination of the dog to detect clinical symptoms present on the skin. Discharge will be sent for laboratory analysis to determine the type of infection present. Skin scraping tests and bacterial culture tests are also performed to rule out dermatitis, parasite infections and mange. The vet may also use a preliminary trial and error test to eliminate suspected allergens in the dog's environment and determine response. Pet owners should also inform the vet if the dog was administered any vaccines recently that may have triggered an allergic reaction.

Other Diagnostic Tests

Treatment of Canine Eczema

The diagnostic tests performed vary according to the severity of infection present. Dogs suffering from underlying health concerns or accompanying symptoms require additional tests. After the diagnosis is confirmed, the vet will prescribe topical solutions to treat affected areas. Corticosteroid drugs are also effective to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Secondary bacterial infections are treated with oral antibiotic medicines. Although medications bring relief from the symptoms of eczema, they don't treat the main cause of the condition. Pet owners have to work with the vet to determine allergens in the dog's environment that trigger eczema. It's best to avoid the use of deodorizers, toxic substances and harsh chemicals around pets.

Other Treatment Options

Since corticosteroid medicines cannot be used as long term solutions to eczema there are several herbal formulas that are safe and effective for use. Most herbs used to treat eczema have soothing properties that relieve itching and sore skin. Oats, Chamomile, Aloe Vera and Yarrow in particular are known for their calming and soothing properties.

Herbal remedies for eczema should be used only after prior vet approval. Since herbal formulations also cause drug interactions with prescribed medication, it's best to inform the vet if the pet is routinely administered other herbal remedies.