Having skin infections is a pretty standard stage for some pets to have since skin infection can be triggered by many factors like a genetic disease, climate, and allergies, which are inevitable.
The best way to totally get rid of the infection is actually possible if done right. In this article, I will discuss different skin conditions of dogs and cats, what causes them, how to treat them, and the best way to prevent it from happening.
- Proper hygiene is always the best and first way to prevent skin infection.
- A high-quality and nutritious diet is very important.
- A regular vet visit to ensure that your pet always has the protection that they need. Also, to be able to adequately address what vaccine or medications that your pupper or kitty’s needs.
- Be observant about any signs of skin infection on your pet like itching, red, watery eyes, sores, etc.
- The common skin infections are atopic dermatitis, hot spots, leptospirosis, staph infection, bacterial ear infection, Actinomycosis.
What Is The Role Of The Skin?
The skin is the largest organ of the body, whether it is for humans and most animals like dogs and cats. It has many functions like immune protection, thermoregulation, sensory perception, produces vitamin D, and, most of all, it is the main barrier used as a shield for environmental hazards. And because of that, dermatologic problems are one of the most commonly seen infections by a vet.
There are more than 100 skin infections that can affect doggies and kitties. These infections can bring discomfort and can lead to severe health conditions for pets if neglected.
Signs That a Dog or Cat Have Skin Condition
- They keep on shaking their head
- Continuous scratching of their skin/fur due to itching
- Red, watery eyes
- Swollen parts of the skin and sores
- Excessive chewing and licking
- Their coat becomes dull, greasy, or they begin to start having hair loss
- Their skin becomes flaky, irritated, and scabbed
- You will notice some changes in behavior like they don’t want to pet, hiding, and showing discomfort.
Common Causes Of Dogs and Cats Skin Infections
There are many reasons why puppers and kitties develop skin infections. But the common factors that contribute to skin infections are:
- Genetic – Dogs and cats can be born with skin conditions. Some have sensitive skin and even diseases like cancers and adrenal disorders, which is called “ Cushing. “
- Climate –Climate is also a huge factor that can affect the skin conditions of cats and dogs. The cold can trap the sweat and dirt in the skin that can lead to bacterial infection. On the other hand, a hot climate can make the skin secretes too much sweat that can cause bacteria as well. Both too much hot and cold can trigger the skin to get itchy, dry, flaky, and irritable.
- Allergies – Yes, pets can get allergies too. Just like us humans, allergens from our surroundings can trigger pet’s allergies. These allergens are pollen, dust, dander, molds, chemicals, and foods.
- Infections – infections can be caused by bacteria, fungus, parasites, and even viruses that pets can get from almost everything in their surroundings.
But did you know that your pets’ skin infections can be passed on to humans too?
Yes, this is, unfortunately true. Your doggies and kitties whom you share your home with can pass their skin infection to you and to your family too. Pets carry bacterias like parasites, fungus, viruses, and diseases. The type of disease called “ zoonotic diseases “ is a type of disease that can be passed on to humans. Zoonotic diseases have many varieties that can have dangerous effects on humans if infected. These can be transferred to humans when they are bitten, scratched, and even when they have contact with dogs and cats’ saliva, waste, and dander.
Now, the most important question is: How to get rid of the dog or cat’s skin infection once and for all?
Skin disease is very common to doggos and kitties due to their nature of being playful, and they love to go outside or mingle with other animals. But just like any other disease, infection, and illness, always, prevention is better than cure. A clean pet and surroundings are a must to avoid your pet as well as you and your family from having unwanted skin infections. So don’t fret, because most of the skin infections of dogs and cats can be cured. There are lots of medicines used to stop skin infection, such as antibiotics, antifungal medications, antihistamines, medicated shampoos, and anti-inflammatory medication. That is why being prepared and having done all the necessary precautions are necessary to get that skin-infection-free pet that you are aiming for.
Things to do to prevent skin infections
- Brush and wash your pet regularly. Just like us humans, proper hygiene is also very essential to keep our pets healthy. Regular bathing is necessary to keep your pet’s skin cool and to remove the trapped heat inside.
- Feed your pupper or kittie with a proper diet. We should not only be mindful of our pet’s physical cleanliness but also on what we let our pets eat. There is a saying, ‘ You are what you eat ‘ same goes with our pets. They must eat healthy and nutritious food if we want them to be healthy.
- Make sure to be vigilant for any signs of parasites. Observe your dog or cat, if you see them consistently scratching their fur or notice some swollen parts of their skin, see your pet’s vet immediately. Also, follow pet parasite and insect prevention measures at all costs.
- Ask for your pet’s vet advice if they can give you prescription medications like steroids and antihistamines just in case your pet needs one.
- Also, ask your vet for pet allergy shots. It is a form of immunotherapy that may reduce your pet’s sensitivity to allergens. This step will help a lot, especially if your pet loves to play outside when allergens can be found almost everywhere.
- Giving your doggos and kitties supplements like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
- Ask your vet as well what medicated shampoos are right for your cat or dog. No matter how tempting a new brand of pet shampoo can be, hold your horses. It is always best to ask for professional advice first. By that, they can check your pet’s skin first before trying out just any kind of shampoos in the market.
Now that you already know what the preventions are to avoid skin infections to your pet. What you need to learn now is what are the common skin diseases dogs and cats can have and what causes them.
Most Common Skin Infections for Dogs and Cats
- Hot Spots – Is also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis in dogs and cats. This usually involves the development of localized inflammation of the skin that is often quite painful for pets.
- Atopic dermatitis – It is an inflammatory skin condition in dogs and cats that results from inhalant/contact allergies like pollen, dust, molds, grasses, trees, and ragweed. Pets with atopic dermatitis will show signs like itching and lick at themselves often.
- Dry skin – Dry skin can be an effect of many factors – It can be from nutritional imbalances, surroundings, allergens, and deficiencies to different allergies skin disorders like atopy, food allergies, and flea bite allergies, pollen and dust allergies.
- Hair Loss – Is also caused by many reasons, including dietary factors and imbalances, food allergies, inhalant/contact allergies, and flea bite allergies.
- Leptospirosis – It is a bacterial infection caused by a bacterium known as spirochetes. This bacteria can affect both humans and animals. Domesticated canines usually get this from having contact with urine from other animals that are infected, contaminated water, mating with infected pets, and even from bites.
- Actinomycosis – is a skin infection caused by Actinomyces. This bacteria can be found in soil. It enters through the skin from wounds or cuts.
- Staph infection – It is the most common type of bacteria that can infect dogs. It can infect even the respiratory tract of the dog, not just the skin.
- Bacterial ear infection – Bacterial infection can occur when there is inflammation. This happens when there is excessive moisture within the ear canal, during allergies, and co-infection with another infection like yeast species called Malassezia.
- Allergies to food that cats ingest or substances the cat come in contact with
- Allergies to inhaled compounds like pollen and dust
- Bacterial infection of hair follicles (folliculitis)
- Adverse drug reactions
- Allergies to flea bites
- Ear mites or ear infection
- Flea infestation
- Acne due to unhealthy skin
Does Pet Insurance Cover Vet Visits?
Yes, there are Pet Health insurance policies that include a wellness plan on some insurers. This will help cover the costs of routine vet visits. However, not all insurance companies offer wellness plans; that is why it is important to talk to professional agents about it. To know more about Pet Insurance, contact us! Our team will provide all the information you need to secure your pet’s wellness.