Looking After Your Pet’s Skin

With the arrival of spring come lighter nights and new life budding all around us. However, as the warmer months approach, many pet owners also face the consequences of allergic skin disease with their beloved furry friends.

Allergic skin disease is one of the most common conditions we see in veterinary practice. It is an umbrella term encompassing conditions, such as atopy, food allergies and flea allergic dermatitis. Sadly, it is known to be one of the most common reasons for a client to move veterinary practices and gain a second opinion.

One of the key reasons for this is that pet owners understandably get very frustrated by the ongoing nature of skin disease. As this is a huge topic, I am going to list my key tips in managing skin disease as effectively as possible:

(1) Excessive foot licking or chewing, and over grooming are often the first sign of allergic skin disease.

(2) The majority of skin disease can only be managed, not cured, and expecting a cure will often lead to disappointment.

(3) Effective parasite control is often the first step and key treatment but will not always work alone.

(4) There are often many factors involved in skin disease and there is a logical process that your vet will need to follow to reach the correct diagnosis.

(5) Similarly, effective management often requires a mixture of actions or treatments. There is no one single solution!

(6) Working with your vet and follow-up appointments are crucial with skin disease, as the initial treatment may be focused on, for example, an ear infection, but further investigation and control measures are often needed to manage the situation long term.

(7) Elimination trials, including products used round the house, ingredients in their diet and allergens encountered when outside, can be important but take patience.

(8) Sometimes ongoing medication is required when symptoms are excessive and impacting on their quality of life. Your vert can help choose the most appropriate for you and your pet.

(9) Supplements such as essential fatty acids can help improve the skin’s natural barrier to allergens.

(10) Chat to your vet early on and be honest about your concerns (both your pet’s condition and/or financial), we are here to help, and early management is key!

We all want our pets to be healthy and happy so they can enjoy the great British outdoors this spring and summer!