What Causes Your Pooch To Itch?

  • 25/11/2019

What causes your pooch to itch?

Itching, also known as Pruritus is an unpleasant sensation within the skin that provokes the desire to scratch. Itching is just a sign, not a diagnosis or a specific disease. Some of the most likely causes of itching are parasites, infections, and allergies. A dog that experience pruritus will scratch, bite, or lick its skin. Itching may be general or confined to one area. Bacterial and fungal infections are common causes of itching. 

Allergies’ Induced itch

While it may be possible to identify the cause of an allergic response, it is best to seek attention from a veterinarian for the best treatment possible.  To determine the allergens which the dog is sensitive to, veterinarians will commonly use a serum allergy test or a skin allergy test. There are different kinds of allergies from which dogs may suffer. They may be gut-induced, skin-induced, and respiratory-induced. Dogs are susceptible to allergies, much like their human companions. Allergies mostly occur in dogs over six months old. Some of the signs are redness, itching, hair loss, and recurring skin infections from the irritation. Other common symptoms of allergies include coughing, sneezing, wheezing, ocular and nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, and licking of the paws. Allergy could either be;

Furthermore, food allergy is confirmed or excluded based on the response to a diet trial. During a diet trial, your dog is fed a diet that does not include the foods it has normally consumed. Your vet doctor will specify the diet, often one containing fish or other meals not previously fed. It is essential to follow the prescribed diet and carefully and stop giving your furry friend treats that do not comply with the diet. Allergy testing and intradermal skin testing are also used to show antigen exposure patterns. These tests are used to determine the contents of an immunotherapy vaccine but are ineffective in identifying food allergies.

Contact allergies: Contact allergies are the least common type of allergies. It results from direct contact with the allergen. The signs of contact allergies are very similar to those of flea allergies - skin irritation at the point of contact and itching. The sources of allergens include, but are not limited to, the synthetic materials in bedding, plants, pesticides, or household cleaning products. Simply removing the source of the allergen is usually sufficient in solving the problem.

Respiratory-induced allergies 

Atopy; Atopy is synonymous with "inhalant allergy." It manifests as a condition called atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by itching, biting, hair loss, and face rubbing. Other signs may be the presence of papules, which are small red bumps, or pustules, which are small pimple-like lesions. Atopy is a genetic disorder that predisposes the immune system of a dog to react to tree pollens, grass pollens, weed pollens, molds, mildew, and house dust mites, and can also be caused by exposure to chemical irritants, like conventional household products. Dogs will often have reactions to multiple allergens and may also experience concurrent flea or food allergies. Certain breeds are prone to atopic dermatitis, like Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Lhasa Apsos, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, and Old English Sheepdogs.

Fleas and Ticks

Another reason your four-legged best friend might be itchy all over is due to fleas or tick infestations. These pesky pests are capable of making your pets uncomfortable. If you notice any pest activity in your home or fur, give them a thorough bath, using a flea comb, shampoo (made for dogs). However, bathing them is just a step to an itch-free life; you need to contact bug removal and extermination service to help you get rid of fleas, ticks, and other pests lurking around your home, and garden.

Bacterial hypersensitivity

Bacterial hypersensitivity is caused by an exaggerated immune system response to the natural flora normally found on the skin, like Staphylococcus bacteria. It may be identified by red blotches, pus pockets, hair loss, and a skin formation that looks like ringworm, which is also known as epidermal collarettes. Typically, bacterial allergies are secondary to other problems the dog may have, such as parasitism or hormonal disorders. 

Treatment methods include special shampoos, prescribed oral steroids, oral cyclosporines, and natural treatments like administration of omega-3 fatty acids. Desensitization therapy, involving the repetitive administration of allergy injection serum, may help desensitize the immune system to that particular allergen.  Successful treatment depends on the identification of the underlying cause. If the cause of its itching can't be identified, or if the treatment of the underlying disease does not eliminate the itching, then it requires medical management for pruritus. Some prescribed anti-itching medications include glucocorticoids and essential fatty acids, cyclosporine, and oclacitinib.

Treating itchiness with antihistamines is rather common, but their success in treating itching is highly variable. Current research doesn't support the use of antihistamines for itching relief in dogs.

Topical sprays that contain glucocorticoids may provide an effective alternative to pills, as long as they are used appropriately. The use of glucocorticoids to control itching caused by infections is highly inappropriate.

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