Definition of Dermatitis
“Dermatitis,” defined as inflammation of the skin, is a general term used interchangeably with “skin problems.” The causes of canine dermatitis are elusive and can vary widely, in part because the skin is the largest living organ in mammals and in part because it is a complex, interconnected network of cells and tissues that continuously interact with the world inside and outside of a dog’s body. Basically, anything that irritates a dog’s skin can cause dermatitis. Allergies are a common culprit. Dermatitis often starts with an itch-scratch-itch cycle, although sometimes it only shows up as patchy hair loss. Affected dogs can develop hot spots, which are warm, swollen, painful areas that may stink and ooze pus. Sometimes, the reasons for dermatitis are never determined, which makes it an extremely frustrating condition for dog owners to deal with. Dermatitis can set the stage for more serious secondary infections.