While the word dermatitis is used to describe many types of skin inflammations, it is important to know that it is merely a general term that is used only until the actual skin disorder is diagnosed. Dogs normally have a large tendency to catch many sorts of disorders including burns, bacterial infections, allergies etc. These can cause many discomforts to dogs such as itching, blisters, boils, swelling and the general redness of skin. Therefore it is beneficial for a dog owner to know the basics about the dermatologic issues related to dogs in order to keep them away from them.
Pruritus is one of the most common skin disorders found among dogs. This causes an abnormal amount of itching which often can be seen in canines of many breeds. However, this often happens because of secondary infections and if it happens to last for a long time, the open wounds and crusting can lead to bigger health issues for the dogs as well. Pruritus growing on the upper surface of the skin can be cured easily with right medication, but if it reaches the lower layers of skin such as epidermis and dermis, it may become harder to cure and unless frequent medications are done for a longer period of time. If the dermis gets infected with Pruritus, an occasional fluid discharge also can be seen with skin showing a clear open wound that emits odor as well. Yeast infections and other bacterial infection are also common as secondary issues that come with various skin inflammation disorders. Itching is the most common visible symptom that with time leads to wounds on the skin.
If you see any of the primary or secondary symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Any skin disorder is easily curable in the early stages and yet if not treated well early; they can deepen with time along with the secondary inflections, which make it harder for your veterinarian to distinguish the primary problem. Being thorough about the following checklist will make it easier for your veterinarian to diagnose the skin disorders of your dog.
1. Primary complaint
This is your first observation of your dog which initially made you take it to the clinic. Being the owner, you should are the mouth for your dog. Therefore, you should be able to describe the irritations that you saw in detail and your observations about the changes in made in the dog’s behavior.
2. The Time duration
Be specific about the day you first started seeing the symptoms and how long they have been lasting until the day you meet your vet.
3. The age at which the skin disorder started
Some skin disorders of dogs are specific to a certain age. If you have been seeing certain minor symptoms of the disorder over a period of time, try to be specific of the age of the dog in which they first started being visible.
The breed of the dog is important since the skin of dogs largely differ with the breed. If you have a mix breed, gather as much as information you can about the parent dogs and their breeds before you meet your vet since they definitely will be important in the diagnosis.
There are many skin disorders that occur in a specific climatic nature. Therefore, the weather conditions and the season that you first see the symptoms of the dog are important. If it occurred in a trip or a different geographical place than you usually live in, do not forget to mention that as well.
6. Special behaviors
You have to carefully observe the details of your dog’s behavior due to the skin disorder. This could be scratching, chewing or licking the affected area. Observe if the behaviors change throughout the time of the day to see if it increases or decreases during a certain time. Describe the exact behaviors of the dog for the doctor to be specific about the diagnosis.
7. The progression of the problem
Here you have to describe about the gradual changes that happened to the skin disorder. The condition it started and how it developed over the time. It is better if you can pay attention to the details such as how often the scratching happened in the beginning and how it is now.
8. The Affected area
Although you may tell that the vet can see the affected areas without you telling them, it is important for them to know where it first started. Therefore, the area in which the skin was affected in the very first time you noticed it is worthy of mentioning.
9. Previous treatments
It is always a good idea to keep a record on all the medications done to your dog. Your information on the previous medications to the dog and how it responded to them is important to the veterinarian especially when it comes to prescribing antibiotics.
10. Bathing habits
Make sure you tell the vet about the bathing habits of the dog including how often you normally bathe it and the last time you did as well. This is important because bathing plays an important role when it comes to skin disorders. It is advisable to mention the bathing products that you use as well.