Keeping your pet’s skin and coat healthy requires optimum nutrition, freedom from parasites (see parasites section), regular grooming, and allergy control.
The major signs of skin disease are scratching, inflamed skin, dull coat, and hair loss (bald patches). Never ignore these symptoms. Allergy tests, fungal culturing, skin scraping, blood tests, or skin biopses may be required in order to determine the problem.
Fleas are a parasitic insect that survive on the blood of their host. Most dogs and cats will suffer from fleas at some point in its lifetime. Fleas can cause anemia and flea allergy dermatitis as well as transmit tapeworms. It is important to treat both your pet and its home environment (floors, carpets, and furniture). Use veterinary approved products only. Safe oral and topical monthly flea control products are also available.
Ticks are parasites that may come into contact with your pet’s fur and bury their mouth parts under its skin. Ticks may swell to the size of a small pea or larger when feeding on blood. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis represent the most serious health threats posed by ticks to both animals and humans alike. These ticks can cause enlarged lymph nodes, joint inflammation, and fever.
Lameness is the most common clinical sign of Lyme disease. Kidney failure, cardiac, and neurological disease are found in advanced cases of Lyme disease. If you find a tick on your pet, use tweezers, not your fingers, to remove it. Lyme disease requires a course of antibiotics daily over a period of two to three weeks. Close monitoring for reoccurrence of symptoms is of utmost importance.