Definition of Eczema in Dogs
Eczema is a general term that refers to inflammation of the outer layers of the skin, called the epidermis, regardless of the reason for that inflammation. The epidermis doesn’t have its own blood supply and is made up of five distinct layers. Eczema isn’t an illness or disease; it’s a symptom of some other problem that causes the outer layers of a dog’s skin to become irritated. The epidermis can become inflamed for a number of reasons, including contact with chemicals, plants, dust or other inhaled substances, mechanical irritants, extreme heat, cold, dryness or humidity, parasite or insect bites, poor nutrition and viral, bacterial, fungal or yeast-based infections. Eczema can be extremely itchy, causing affected dogs to lick, bite, chew, scratch and rub at their skin, which leads to weeping sores on their skin. Eczema is often seasonal, being worse in hot, humid or dry weather. Owners of dogs with skin sores should take their pets to a veterinarian for treatment.