Dog Skin Disease Diagnosis

Dog skin is often susceptible to various skin conditions, collectively known as dermatitis. The skin and coat often reveals the overall health of the pet. Skin diseases are categorized as primary skin conditions and secondary skin conditions. Primary skin conditions appear externally and don’t involve internal organs like secondary skin conditions. Since the symptoms influence the type and severity of disease present, pet owners should notice any unusual symptoms and seek prompt vet help.

Causes of Skin Diseases in Dogs

One of the most common types of skin diseases that occur in pets is attributed to flea and tick infections, mite infestation or parasite infections. Other skin conditions develop due to allergic reactions, fungal infections and cysts. Cysts in particular are non-cancerous lumps that develop under the dog’s skin and are tested for malignancy during diagnosis. Since fungal, bacterial and parasite infections are well controlled with medication, its best to initiate early treatment to avoid discomfort associated with individual skin diseases.

Symptoms of Skin Disease                      

Although some pets may develop accompanying symptoms due to internal organ involvement, most pets exhibit symptoms that can be easily noticed on the surface of the skin. Crusty skin, thickening of the skin, skin pigmentation and itchiness are some of the commonly occurring symptoms. Others include, skin inflammation, skin sores or lesions accompanied by discharge.

Skin cysts appear as tiny lumps that can be felt under the skin during palpation. In order to determine the severity of the skin disease present the vet will conduct various diagnostic tests. Since the symptoms of skin disorders are common to many conditions, the vet has to obtain an accurate diagnosis to prescribe medication that treats not only the symptoms, but also the primary cause of infection.

Diagnosis of Dog Skin Diseases

The vet will perform a complete physical examination of the dog and check for lumps by palpating the body or affected sites. Pet owners should inform the vet about pre-existing medical conditions and if the dog has suffered from similar skin problems in the past. The location of skin infection may also indicate specific skin diseases such as ear mite infections that develop around the pets ears. After careful physical examination, the vet will conduct blood tests to reveal abnormalities present in the components of blood. A skin scraping tests is performed to obtain a laboratory analysis of a sample of the pet’s skin or cells.

Laboratory analysis will reveal infections such as mange, cheyletiella and flea infections. Fungal infections will be determined after careful examination of the skin under certain lights. If the diagnosis doesn’t reveal any parasites or fungal infection, the pet will be tested for allergies. This involves trial and error elimination of potential allergens in the dog’s environment along with skin allergen testing. Apart from these tests the vet may perform additional tests to confirm diagnosis.

Other Tests Include:

  • Culture tests
  • Biopsy
  • X-rays
  • Laboratory analysis of discharge
  • Diet elimination

Treatment of Skin Disease in Dogs

The vet will prescribe certain anti-inflammatory medicines along with topical solutions to treat dogs suffering from skin inflammation and itchy skin. Other treatment options include antibiotic medication to control bacterial infections.

Although there are several commercially available topical products that soothe skin and bring relief from various skin conditions, it’s best to avoid the use of over the counter drugs before determining the underlying cause of skin infection.