Starting With A Dog’s Past Is A Window Into Possible Causes Of Skin Problems
Skin conditions are one of the commonest presenting conditions in a pet health practice. Many canine dermal rashes are not differentiated in how they appear to the eye, yet have multiple possible triggers, so an clinical examination alone frequently doesn’t reveal the answers required to counsel a particular an approach to care. Prior to the dermal exam one of the most important diagnostic approaches is the taking of a dermatologic history. By asking a pointed set of inquiries on a dog’s skin history, a veterinarian can begin to narrow down likely causes of the condition. This definitely will save the owner time and help to avoid high-priced tests by slimming down the long list of possible dog skin conditions.
Most pet health professionals begin the office visit with a written list of questions. The vet will then discuss the responses with you and then will ascertain any suggested next steps. Standard inquiries include:
1. What’s the breed of dog? There are many skin illnesses with a higher incidence in certain breeds. Note that info can vary by geographic area. As an example, many popular breeds are predisposed to atopy, which are inhaled seasonal allergies including Gordon Setters, Beagles, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bullterriers, Cairn Terrier, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Dalmatians, and German Shepherds.
2. What’s the age of the patient? Certain cutaneal conditions are seen in younger dogs like genetic conditions. Others are due to a malfunctioning or immature immune system, which allows issues to develop like parasitic disorders. Middle age dogs are at the mercy of allergy, while older dogs are frequently subject to skin melonoma.
3. How long has the dog suffered from the condition? Sicknesses that appear to have suddenly occurred are linked with parasitic illnesses or a food allergy. On-going conditions like itch can be the result of a change in food or rash. Problems that have gone on for years without other Problems, allow issues such as hormonal issues to be discarded. Dog hair loss without other symptoms can be hereditary or a difficulty called follicular dysplasia. Depending on the cause identified, a veterinarian can test for scabies, diet allergy, or infection.
4. Where on the body did the issue first appear? Location is often point to certain causes of the underlying cause of the problem. As an example, issues on the ears can be caused by spring, summer or fall allergy, dietary allergy, mange skin polyps, and secondary infection. Lesions on the extremities are frequently due to a plant related allergy, food allergy, parasitic disorders such as mange, vasculitis and pemphigus (pus filled lesions). Issues on the head include mites, seasonal allergens, diet allergy or fungal infection.
5. What are the symptoms? Symptoms like itch are related to many skin diseases and aren't especially helpful in figuring out the reason that the problem occurred. Also, owners may mis-interpret itch as being a big problem when it is not as bad as it seems.
There are a few more questions, including the impact of seasonality, other symptoms that aren’t related to the skin such as eating behavior and behavioral change, recent changes in diet, the presence of other pets and even if the owner has any skin problems that would have been passed from the owner to the dog. The bottom line is that by doing a thorough job by replying to several inquiries can significantly reduce the price of treatment and get your dog on the path to a cure and excellent end result.
Cathy Doggins is the author of hundreds of pieces on canine health. She's the number one contributor to the online resource, the Dog Health Guide, Cathy is passionate about dog wellness and has written published on canine skin disease.