Itching and Scratching: Causes and Cures

Helpful Tips from Our Royal Oak Veterinarian

If your see your dog scratching himself you may simply assume that he has fleas. Your dog might indeed have a flea problem — or that scratching may indicate any one of a variety of other conditions that require veterinary treatments from our Royal Oak veterinarian, Dr. Simon.

Itching occurs as a byproduct of skin irritation, and pest infestations certainly contribute to this problem. Fleas, ticks and mites all cause skin irritation when they bite into your dog. Mites represent one of the most common dog ear problems, causing not only itchiness but also infections. On the microscopic level, bacteria, yeasts and fungi can irritate the skin as well. Pyoderma, for instance, is a form of bacterial dermatitis that can raise itchy pimples on a dog’s skin. If your dog comes into contact with an allergen, his immune system will release histamine, resulting in itching and other reactions. Sometimes an autoimmune disease can lead to skin symptoms such as redness, pain and itching. In some cases, a simple vitamin deficiency can make the skin dry and itchy.

Itchiness as such will not harm your dog — but constant scratching at the irritated area certainly can. Dog rashes that encourage scratching will eventually lead to hair loss and skin damage, with open wounds providing a clear gateway for serious infections. If your dog seems to scratch himself all the time, or if you see evidence of hair loss or skin damage from scratching, you need to bring your dog to our veterinary clinic right away.

Our Animal Vet Clinic Treats Dog Rashes

At Woodside Animal Hospital, our Royal Oak vet Dr. Simon will evaluate your dog’s scratching problem and identify the causes. We can run urine tests to check levels of cortisol (a substance that causes itching), check for pests or microorganisms and perform allergy testing. We will then prescribe medications or supplements to relieve the itching behind the scratching, ensuring better long-term health for your pet.

Has your dog ever suffered from a mysterious itching spell? How did you resolve it? Tell us!

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