Dog Eczema Symptoms

Dog eczema is an extremely itchy and irritating skin condition. The most common form of dog eczema is atopic dermatitis. There are a variety of skin conditions which can contribute to the irritating effects of eczema. Because irritation of the skin can mimic so many other medical conditions, it's important that the skin condition always be evaluated before assuming that it is eczema related.

How Eczema Is Caused

Eczema is most often caused by a dog's allergic reaction to something in the air. The skin is the most sensitive aspect of a dog's body and it is usually the first to show signs of an allergic reaction. Even though an allergy is the most common trigger of eczema in a dog, it is still important to remember that the allergy is only a trigger, meaning that the condition of eczema existed prior to the allergy creating signs of eczema in a dog.

The true cause of eczema is thought to be genetically related and ultimately caused by some deficiency in the immune system. When the immune system is weak or something about it does not function properly, it can often cause other aspects of the body to become weakened and more susceptible - namely, the skin.

Symptoms of Dog Eczema

To a trained professional, dog eczema is usually very easily recognized. To a regular dog owner, the symptoms of eczema are often similar to other skin conditions, like mange and standard skin allergies. In dogs with eczema, the skin will appear to be very red, almost pink, and extremely scaly. A gentle scraping of the reddened skin area should cause the skin to flake off in thin sheets and in high volumes.

Dog eczema starts off appearing as a basic case of dry skin. As the outbreak progresses, the skin will become progressively red, dry, flaky and little bumps may start to appear around the area. These little bumps may produce pus or may be hardened, but they are nothing that should cause alarm. They are simply a part of the eczema reaction in dogs.

A dog with eczema will scratch incessantly at the irritated areas. This can result in a large amount of hair being lost, which is why dog owners can often confuse eczema with mange. Once the condition is treated, the hair may or may not grow back, depending upon how severely the skin was affected.

How Dog Eczema Is Treated

Treatment of dog eczema consists of several different steps, as well as trial and error. The first step is to try to figure out what has caused the recent outbreak of eczema. If anything can be attributed to the eczema, such as uncontrolled fleas, a new food or excessive exposure to an irritant, then that particular issue needs to be rectified. Getting fleas under control with flea medications and dip and maintaining a slow switch back to a dog's normal food can be good methods to use to determine if the eczema will go away.

In the meantime, a dog will likely be given a medical cream or ointment to apply to the affected areas. A medical antibiotic cream should help to reduce some of the irritation, put some moisture back into the skin and prevent secondary infections from developing.