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Dog Dermatology - How to Diagnose & Treat Dog Skin Conditions

What causes skin problems in dogs?

Many things can cause skin problems in dogs. Allergies would be the most common, or your dog could have some parasites, or it could be that your dog is simply sensitive to many things.


Dr. Ben Larson
Berry Farms Animal Hospital - Cupola Animal Hospitals

Are dermatology issues painful for my dog?

They can be. Mostly, they're just really uncomfortable versus painful, as the dog wants to scratch, and it's uncomfortable for them.

What are some signs and symptoms that my dog may have a skin condition?

Excessive scratching. You may even see some skin lesions on them, red spots, or raised bumps. They may have ear infections. They could have some GI issues or diarrhea. There are many signs of skin conditions.

What tests will be performed to diagnose my dog's skin condition?

Many tests are dependent on what you find on the physical exam. We may do a skin cytology, where we take some tape and get some skin cells from your dog. We may do a little scraping on their skin and get some flakes and look at those. Another thing we sometimes do is take a swab of their ears. We do all of these things to use the microscope to see on a microscopic level what's going on with their skin.

What are some common skin problems in dogs, and how are they treated?

Allergies would be the main predisposing factor. The dog would get skin and ear infections. They can have mites on them from other dogs, or even may have an immuno-compromised type condition as well, so many skin problems in dogs.

What if my dog's skin problems go untreated?

If they go untreated, the skin problem is going to fester and get worse and worse. The dog will become more uncomfortable, and then the infections that arise secondary to what's going on will worsen. The treatment will also take much longer, and your dog's going to have to be on much more medicine. Again, it can even be for several months too, so it's imperative to get them checked as soon as possible.

What are curable versus incurable skin problems in dogs?

Curable skin conditions would be some skin infections, parasites, and other things like that. Even some skin masses and cancers that can be cut off are curable. Incurable skin conditions would be other types of cancers that can't be removed or can only partially be removed. Auto-immune type diseases may be incurable. We can manage them, but there's not a cure for them.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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