Provided by Your Pet Magazine
There are many different causes for itchy skin in our pets and your veterinarian can determine what is causing your loved one to scratch.
There are certain parasites which can cause our pets to be itchy, such as fleas and mites. Fleas breed rapidly in summer, so flea allergy problems are worse at this time of year. There are many good preventative treatments on the market. Your vet is able to do a number of small simple tests to check whether your pet has a parasite problem. Some parasites such as fleas can be seen on your pet but others such as mites can only be seen under the microscope.
Certain infections (including bacterial and yeast infections) can also cause your pet to scratch. Your vet can also check for this and treat your animal accordingly.
Similar to humans, pets can suffer from allergies and there are many different things that give your pet an allergic reaction. Dogs and cats can be allergic to foods. By feeding your animal a different type of food (under the guidance of your vet) you may see an improvement. Food allergies are usually due to a particular protein source. Feeding your pet a different type of protein may help to resolve this allergy. There are commercial diets available from your vet specifically made for animals suffering with food allergies. Your vet can advise if your pet should have one of these diets.
Dogs and cats can also be allergic to pollens, dust mites and things in the home such as carpets and certain bedding. Some pets are allergic to flea bite saliva. Your vet can help you to determine what your pet may be allergic to. Some of these things can be controlled by preventative measures, such as flea control and removal of bedding, whereas other triggers such as pollens - that can increase at this time of year - are very difficult to eliminate from your pet's environment. In these cases, your pet may need medication to help reduce the signs associated with this disease.
So, if you see your pet scratching do not hesitate to ask your vet for help. There are many different causes and your vet will work out the best treatment option for your beloved friend!Dr Michelle Coles is Veterinary Technical Manager with Royal Canine Australia.