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Skin conditions are among the most common health complaints suffered by dogs and cats. This article looks at the common causes and symptoms of these conditions, and also looks at some of the treatments that are available.
Skin conditions are among the most common health complaints suffered by dogs and cats. This article looks at the common causes and symptoms of these conditions, and also looks at some of the treatments that are available. Causes There are a very large number of factors that can cause skin complaints, so it can often be hard even for experienced vets to identify what triggered a particular complaint. However, there are some very common causes that are known to be responsible for a large percentage of cases, such as fleas, and allergies caused by bacteria, food and environmental factors. The problem is that deciding what treatment to use depends often on identifying the cause, which involves checking for parasites and making efforts to find the source of any allergic reaction. Other than allergies and fleas, the most common forms of skin conditions in dogs and cats are dermatitis, eczema and pyoderma. Symptoms Typical symptoms that indicate a skin complaint include inflammation, itchiness and redness on areas where the coat is thinnest, like on the belly or under the armpits. Another sign is hair loss, which can be brought on by the cat or dog continually scratching to relieve the intense discomfort. If the condition gets serious, you may see symptoms such as pustules or broken skin, which should be taken as a signal that treatment is required as a matter of urgency. Treatments There are various treatments recommended for skin problems. One approach is to alter your pet's diet, as this often has an effect on the condition. Red meats and foods containing colouring and flavouring agents can be a cause of allergic reactions, so a cleansing diet containing only white meat or fish and boiled rice is sometimes recommended for a month or so, or continued for a longer period if the animal is particularly susceptible to food-based allergies. Herbal medicines have been found to be of particular use in controlling skin complaints, because of their healing properties that tackle health problems in a holistic way. A combination of garlic and fenugreek can be used to deal with minor skin infections, and is often given along with mixed vegetable tablets, which help to relieve irritation and cool down hot, inflamed skin. Evening primrose oil is another commonly used herbal treatment. It is used to deal with the hair loss caused by scratching, as it maintains the skin while encouraging coat re-growth. There are also a number of natural formulas that can be applied to dry, damaged and sore skin to help it to heal quickly and avoid infection. Herbal medicines on the whole have a high success rate for treating cats and dogs suffering from skin conditions, and have the added benefit that they can be given along with any other conventional medication and have no major side effects. If you are unsure about the best treatment for your pet, the best solution is always to seek the advice of a trained veterinary surgeon, as they will be best placed to identify the problem and suggest an effective remedy.
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