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August is Itchy Pet Awareness Month! Just like ours, pets’ skin can feel itchy and inflamed. However, there’s a huge difference between an occasional mild itch and chronic itching. Of course, before you can properly treat an issue, you’ll need to find out what’s causing it. A local Ada, MI vet lists a few potential options below.
Allergies are more common in dogs, but they can occur in cats as well. Pets can be allergic to a wide range of things, from dust and pollen to insect bites to certain materials or fibers. These can develop at any point in your four-legged pal’s life, and sometimes come on unexpectedly.
Food allergies are another potential risk. Food allergies often initially manifest as itching around the face, feet, ears, and rear. Proteins, such as beef or chicken, are the most common culprit here, but tests would be needed to determine exactly what your pet is reacting to. This may entail putting your furry buddy on a very bland diet, and then reintroducing things one by one. Dry foods could also possibly contribute to dry skin, another possible cause of itching.
Fleas and ticks are the usual suspects here, but they aren’t the only ones. Mange is another possibility. There are two kinds of mange: demodectic mange is caused by demodex mites, and is common in puppies, seniors, and pooches with medical conditions or compromised immunity. Sarcoptic mange is caused by sarcoptes mites, and can cause severe itching and hair loss.
If you’re wondering why ringworm wasn’t grouped in with the parasites, well, that’s because it’s actually a fungus. While the ‘worm’ part may be off, at least the ring is accurate: ringworm presents as round lesions which usually first appear on dogs’ head, paws, ears and legs. You’ll need to seek treatment immediately. The good news is that topical medications can take care of the issue. The bad news? It’s contagious, and, if left unchecked, will keep spreading.
Itching can also be caused by certain diseases, such as lupus, or by yeast infections. If your furry pal seems itchy, immediately bring them to your vet for a proper diagnosis. The sooner an issue is diagnosed, the better!
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Please contact us, your local Ada, MI pet clinic, today!