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Itchy Skin (Part 1)

Is your pet continuously scratching, licking and biting itself and you don’t know why?  Take comfort, you are not alone.  One of the most common calls to animal hospitals is due to our pets incessant itching, scratching and skin problems.  In Part 1 of this article, we will discuss some of the possible causes of itchy skin and how you can alleviate it.

Fleas

Fleas are tiny parasitic pests which need to be kept away to stop our pets from scratching all day long.  One of the most common skin conditions experienced by pets, and the most common form of seasonal itching, is Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).  FAD occurs when a dog has an allergic reaction to the saliva that is injected by the flea under the skin when it feeds.

Prevention is the best way to truly get rid of fleas and to treat FAD.  Be mindful that you need to get rid of the adult fleas, the eggs, and the larvae so make sure you choose a flea control that will work on destroying fleas at every stage of the life cycle. Monthly topical flea treatments such as Frontline Plus or Revolution kill flea eggs, larvae and adults on cats and dogs. To kill 100% of fleas within 1 hour of application, try Advantage for cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets too.  For extreme cases you may even need to combine flea prevention treatments until you have the problem under control.


Plant Allergies

Dog’s get allergies just like we do and more often than not a plant or pollen allergy will make our pets scratch and itch incessantly.  The Wandering Jew, a common houseplant, is notorious for causing itchy, red and runny eyes in dogs.  Pets should also avoid contact with Ragweed, Birch and Oak trees.  Airborne allergens, such as dust or pollen, can also trigger itching and scratching in your pets.

Particularly after being outdoors, where your pet has roamed through groundcover, run in and out of bushes and rolled around in the leaves on the lawn, groom your pet with a Gripsoft Brush for Dogs or a Gripsoft Brush for Cats, to remove all allergens and dirt from their coat. 


Fungi

Fungal infections are another cause of dry, itchy and scaly skin in dogs.  Usually present in soil rich in animal faeces, dust, mould or grass, and even found naturally occurring in our pet’s body, fungal organisms and their spores can cause anything from skin irritations, skin lesions and skin and hair loss to lethal damage of our pet’s internal organs.  Fungi that cause disease in dogs can be classified as either “pathogenic’ or ‘opportunistic.’  Pathogenic fungi species, like Ringworm, are capable of causing infection in otherwise healthy dogs, while opportunistic fungi causes disease in dogs that have already been weakened by something else, such as virus or bacterial infections, old age or wounds.

For control of fungal infections of the skin use Malaseb Medicated Foam.  I'ts synergistic formula effectively degreases the skin, removes scales and kills the microorganisms that cause dermatitis.  To treat sensitive fungal infections such as ringworm in dogs, cats and horses use Fungafite Antifungal Cream.


Chemicals

Irritants and harsh chemicals, particularly those found in many shampoos and conditioners, can irritate the skin and cause itching.  These chemicals are able to deplete your pet’s ceramides and fatty acids, which are a major factor in maintaining healthy skin. 

PAW NutriDerm Replenshing Shampoo and PAW NutriDerm Replenishing Conditioner have been designed to relieve itchy skin and support and maintain skin health in your pet.  Vitamin B5, found in the shampoo, optimizes skin hydration and maintains the skin barrier whilst colloidal oatmeal immediately soothes your pet’s itchy skin.  After shampooing your pet make sure to follow up with PAW NutriDerm Replenishing Conditioner which contains cerasine, an advanced skin nutrient complex to intensely nourish the skin. 


Bacteria

Bacteria live on our pet’s skin naturally.  As soon as their skin becomes damaged (abrasions, excessive grooming and moisture) the natural defences of the skin can be turned off and the bacteria can proliferate and cause a bacterial imbalance, resulting in a bacterial infection.  Bacterial Dermatitis is a common disease in dogs caused by bacteria infecting the skin. Bacterial dermatitis will cause itching, redness and irritation with most pets reacting to this discomfort by chewing and scratching their skin, further damaging the skin and allowing more bacteria to penetrate and spread.

For the control of hotspots and bacterial dermatitis in your pet use Pyohex Medicated Foam.  Containing Chlorhexidine, Pyohex Medicated Foam is formulated to remove dirt and scale, degrease the skin and kill cutaneous micro-organisms which cause dermatitis.