Itchy Skin

Around springtime, we often see an increase in itchy skin (dermatitis) and ear infections in dogs and cats.

How to spot itchy skin

You should know almost right away if your cat or dog has dermatitis. Here are a few of the common signs:

  • Constant scratching, licking, or chewing at the skin
  • Flaky, scaly, or greasy skin
  • Unusual and excessive hair loss in isolated or large areas
  • Inflamed, swollen, broken, or bleeding areas of skin (usually caused by scratching, chewing, licking)
  • Hives or red bumps or rashes
  • Unpleasant smelling skin (especially in dogs)

Areas most commonly affected in both cats and dogs include the ears, ankles, underarms, groin and lower abdomen, around the eyes, and the muzzle region of their face.

What causes itchy skin?

There can be many causes of dermatitis in dogs and cats. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Allergies (caused by dust mites, mould spores, pollen, grasses, plant sap, household chemicals, etc.)
  • Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites
  • Generally dry skin
  • Skin infections (like eczema, ringworm fungus, yeast, and other bacterial infections)
  • Foreign objects (i.e., a grass seed, thorn, splinter, or other foreign matter stuck in your pet’s skin)
  • Boredom or anxiety (chewing and licking the skin due to boredom can upset the skin’s natural balance and lead to greater irritations)
  • Wet or damp fur for prolonged periods of time
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal imbalances

Most of these conditions have very simple, effective treatments, including dietary changes, parasite control treatments (topical and ingested), pet-safe moisturisers, and grooming.

Grass Seeds

Spring is here!!  With all the rain we have had in Canberra over winter, we are looking at significant grass growth as the weather warms up.  As the grass goes to seed, these can cause havoc for our pets

Grass seeds can sneak their way into your pet’s paws, ears, nostrils, or eyes, and can cause severe health problems.  Keep an eye out for lumps under the skin, small sores, hot spots, head shaking or areas your pet might be scratching at.

If grass seeds are not removed and are left untreated, they can cause significant issues. These can include ear infections, abscess formation, ruptured eardrums, loss of an eye, or even a swollen ear.

Treatment for grass seeds can be complicated and often requires an anesthetic.

Prevention is the key! To minimise the risk to your pet, we recommend the following;

  • Keep an eye on the length of your grass. Shorter grass is the best way to minimise the risk of grass seeds.
  • Check your pet daily for grass seeds. They could be hiding in their coat, toes, eyes, and ears!
  • Regularly groom your dog. It is particularly important to deshed the winter coat.
  • Avoid dry grass areas when taking your dog out.

If you suspect a grass seed might be bothering your pet, it is essential to see a vet as soon as possible to avoid further complications. Call 02 6295 0770 today!