We all know what it’s like to have an itch that just won’t go away – it can be a real pain! And the more we scratch it, the itchier it gets – red, inflamed and sometimes we break the skin too. Our pets can also suffer from one of these itches, however their causes are often a little more complicated than our human ones.
Just like us, skin is our pets largest organ – unlike us however, they have fur which requires very different support to maintain a nice, healthy, itch-free coat. The complication with skin begins when we look to find out what is causing the itching. While there are some intriguing and complex causes of itching and skin conditions, some more common causes are;
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
- Parasitic causes, such as mites
- Allergy to environmental factors such as pollens, grasses, and plants
- Intolerance to food staples such as wheats, dairy, beef, chicken and other common ingredients
- Metabolic causes such as Cushing disease or low thyroid
Determining the exact cause of allergies, itching, or ongoing symptoms can be difficult, however persistence pays off when it comes to ongoing skin issues. Let’s focus on possible Environmental causes first;
Allergies caused by environmental factors are more difficult to control than other causes of allergies, because there are so many potential causes, and many of them our pet’s come into contact with them on a daily basis.
Some options that we will suggest are;
A prescription food diet trial is often the first point of call with any allergies and can make a huge difference. When it comes to environmental influences, we can’t protect them against all potential causes, so instead we look to build the strength of their skin ‘wall’ back up. This is often a combination of certain types and amounts of amino acids, oils and minerals to balance the skin enzymes back out to a more normal level.
Analysing your pets immediate environment is also important – are there certain plants that may be causing the problem? If you notice your pet flares up around a certain park, or a certain plant in your yard, you may have found the culprit. Removing their accessibility to these areas is a good idea if this is the case.
Specialist intradermal skin testing is another option, however the process can be expensive to first test all the potential allergens, and then create a series of vaccine for those reactive allergens.
Food intolerance DNA testing is a less invasive & expensive way to determine food allergens. The DNA test is called Nutriscan, all you need is a cheek swab of your pet, and the swab is sent over to the USA for testing. From the DNA sample, scientists can determine over 20 potential food intolerances in your pet! This will save you time & money in trialling different types of food.
Ongoing medication will also alleviate many of their symptoms and the severity of the flare up. Speak to us about the most appropriate medication for your pet and their situation.
The most important thing to remember as a pet owner is that early intervention is key to your pet’s recovery, early resolution of the problem and of course… your wallet will remain fuller! If left, scratching and pawing will cause trauma to the affected area, which will mean you are not only having to treat for the underlying cause of the itching, and the itching itself, but also for infection or breakage of the skin.