Eczema in dogs is characterized by superficial inflammation of the epidermis, which are the outer layers of the skin. The condition is virtually the same as dermatitis which refers to any inflammation of the skin.
Canine eczema can be caused by many different things. Your dog may be allergic to something in his diet. Parasites such as ticks, fleas, lice, and mites may also be responsible. If your dog’s skin becomes infected by bacteria or fungi, then the condition may also develop.
In other cases, environmental causes are to blame for canine eczema due to your dog inhaling something or something coming into contact with his skin. These can include paints, perfumes, smoke, detergents, and skin care products that contain alcohol. Receiving too many vaccinations or temperature changes may also be the root cause.
The specific cause of eczema in dogs will determine which signs your dog displays. Many develop rashes or redness of the skin. Hair loss may also occur. It is also very common for dogs to itch constantly, so they will frequently bite, scratch, or lick the affected area. Owners commonly see their dogs rubbing their faces on something. The skin can become very dry and flaky. Dandruff, scaling, crusting, or oozing may also occur.
It is very easy for vets to diagnose canine eczema, however, it can be difficult for them to determine the underlying cause. The vet may suggest a food elimination trial to see if diet is to blame. He may also ask you about any environmental factors that are leading to the condition.
As mentioned, parasites such as fleas and ticks can be to blame. Their presence can be detected either visually or with a skin scraping. Bacterial or fungal cultures can also aid diagnosis. In some cases, a skin biopsy will be taken of bumps on the skin.
Treatment for canine eczema has several goals. Itchiness is a common problem, so medications can be used to relieve it. Secondary bacterial infections frequently occur, so antibiotics may also be necessary. Infections from viruses, fungi, or yeast will also need to be dealt with. If environmental parasites are to blame, then the owner will need to do something to get them under control.
Sometimes, vets won’t be able to find the underlying cause of eczema in dogs. In these cases, the vet may offer a prescription for steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications can be given orally or applied topically
Owners will also need to avoid doing certain things to make canine eczema even worse. Avoid using any perfumes or smoking around your dog. Make sure that you only bathe him using gentle shampoos since those that contain harmful conditions will make the situation worse. You can also use Aloe Vera gel to help reduce itchiness.