Dog skin disorders include conditions that affect the dog's fur and skin. Causes are often related to allergies, bacteria, fungus or parasites. In some cases they can be inherited or congenital. Treating skin disorders is usually done topically, though some require ingested medication as well.
Skin Irritation in Dogs
Common outside skin irritants include parasites and fungus. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, scabies, or demodex can cause severe skin irritation. To diagnose this type of irritation the veterinarian will comb through the dog’s hair to check for fleas and ticks, perform a skin scrape to look for minute parasites such as scabies and demodex, and shine a Wood’s lamp light on the skin to check for ringworm fungus.
Many dogs develop skin irritations in the summer due to heat and humidity. Yeast infections on the skin and in the ears can develop, and this type of skin irritation has classic symptoms and an identifiable odor. If a veterinarian suspects a yeast infection on the dog’s skin, medicated shampoos are prescribed.
If no outside causes of the skin irritation are diagnosed, than a blood test and urinalysis is recommended. Some diseases, like Lyme disease, can cause skin irritations. A blood test and urinalysis will help to identify diseases which could be causing the irritation symptoms.
If an allergy is the suspected cause of the skin irritation, there are tests which can help the owner to identify what the cause is. An RAST and ELISA blood test may help to diagnose allergens which are causing skin irritations. An intradermal skin test can also be used to identify an allergen which is causing a skin irritation. RAST and ELISA blood tests are normally performed if intradermal skin tests are unavailable, or if the dog’s skin is severely inflamed or irritated.