The diagnosis of skin disease
Itchy Skin Disorders
Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiella Mange): Puppies two to twelve
weeks. Dry flakes over the neck and back. Mild
Fleas: Itching and scratching along the back, around the tail
and hindquarters. Fleas and/or black and white gritty
specks in the hair (fleas feces and eggs). Fleas very mobile.
Lice: Found in poorly kept dogs with matted coats. Not Common.
Look for lice or nits beneath mats. May have
Ticks: Large insects fasten onto the skin. Blood ticks
may swell to pea-size. Cause irritation at the site of the bite.
Can be difficult to remove intact. Often found beneath ear flaps and where hair is thin.
Damp Hay Itch (Pelodera): Severe itch caused by a worm larva. Must have contact with damp marsh hay.
Inhalation Allergy (Canine Atopy): Severe itching, face-rubbing
and licking at paws (hay fever-type symptoms.)
Often begins at the same time each year (seasonal pollens). Certain breeds more susceptible.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Follows flea infestation. Pimplelike rash
over the head of the tail, back of rear legs and
inner thighs. Scratching continues after fleas have been killed.
Contact Dermatitis; Itching and skin irritation at site of contact
chemical, detergent, paint, dye, etc. Usually
affects the feet and hairless parts of the body.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Requires repeated or continuos
contact with allergens (i.e., flea collar). Rash may
spread beyond area of contact.
Food Allergy Dermatitis: Nonseasonal itching with reddened
skin, papules, pustules and wheals. Found over the
rump, abdomen and back of the legs. Skin becomes thickened and dark.
Lick Sores (Acral Pruritic Dermatitis): Mainly in large, short-coated
individuals. Starts with licking at wrist or
Fly-bite Dermatitis; Painful bites at tips of erect ears and bent
surfaces of floppy ears. Bites become scabbed,
crusty-black and bleed easily.
Disorders in Which Hair Is Lost or Grows Poorly:
Cortisone Excess (Adrenal Gland Hyperfunction): Can
be caused by prolonged medication with steroids. Males
and females. Hair loss in symmetrical pattern, especially over the trunk and body. Skin is thin. Does not involve
the head and neck.
Estrogen Excess (Hyperestrinism): Mainly in females. Hair
has greasy feel, falls out along flanks and abdomen.
Buildup of wax in ears. In males, consider a testicle tumor, especially with a retained testicle. Loss of hair in
genital area. Nipples enlarge. Dry skin and brittle hair.
Estrogen Dificiency (Hypoestrinism): Mainly in spayed females.
hair growth (thin coat). Skin is smooth
and soft, like a babys skin.
Disorders in Which Hair Is Lost or Grows Poorly:
Acanthosis Nigrans: Hair loss begins in armpit folds.
Black, thick, greasy, rancid-smelling skin. Mainly in
Color Mutant Alopecia (Blue Syndrome): Dry, thin, brittle
hair over the body, giving a mothe-eaten look. Papules
and pustules appear on involved skin. Has a genetic basis in blue- and fawn-colored Dobermans. Can affect
Seborrhea: Dry type: similiar to dandruff. Greasy type:
hair and skin is oily; yellow brown greasy scales on skin.
Hair loss in circular patches, resembles ringworm. Rancid odor.
Ringworm (Fungus Infection): Scaly, crusty and red circular
patches one-half inch to two inches in size with hair
loss at center and red margin at periphery of ring. Affects all parts of coat. Looks healthy unless complicated
by scabs and crusts. Some cases involve a large area with hair loss.
Demodectic Mange (two
Localized--Moth-eaten look due to hair loss around eyelids, mouth and front legs. Patchs about one inch in
diameter. Dogs and bitches less than one year old.
Generalized- Progression of the above. Numerous patches enlarge and coalesce. Severe skin problem
complicated by pyoderma. Affects dogs of all ages, primarily young purebreds.
Calluses (Elbow Sores): Gray, hairless, wrinkled pads of skin
usually over elbow but can occur over any bony
pressure point from lying on hard surfaces.
Hair Pore Infections (Folliculitis): Dogs of all ages, Schnauzers
in particular. Pimplelike bumps or blackheads
along the back and elsewhere. In severe cases, draining sinus tracts and hair loss.
Skin Wrinkle Infection (Skin Fold Pyoderma): Macerated inflamed
skin with a foul odor in characteristic
locations: lip fold, nose fold, vulvar fold, tail fold and between toes.
Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis): Mainly in heavy-coated dogs.
Rapidly advancing painful inflamed patches of
skin covered with a wet surface exudate of pus, from which hair is lost. Skin is irritated from many cuases.
Disease progresses through self-maceration.
Cellulitis and Abscesses:
Cellulitis---Painful, hot, inflamed skin. Caused by wound infections, foreign bodies, breaks in skin.
Abscesses----Pockets of pus beneath the skin. Painful swelling that comes to a head and drains.
Puppy Strangles (Juvenile Pyoderma): Puppies under 4 months. Sudden
painful swelling of lips, eyelids, ears and
face. Draining sores, crusts and sinus tracts.
Mycetomas; Painful swellings beneath skin of legs and feet, which drains puss through sinus tracts.
(We did not include this table as these diseases are not common to
Hematomas: Collections of blood beneath skin, especially of the ears. Caused by trauma.
Tender Knots: Grequently found at the site of a shot or vaccination. Resolve spontaneously. Often painful.
Cysts: Smooth lumps beneath skin. May grow slowly. Can discharge
cheesy material. Become infected. Otherwise
When a Lump May Be a Cancer:
Rapid enlargement; appears hard and fixed to surrounding tissue; any lump growing from bone; a lump that
starts to bleed; a mole that begins to spread and/or ulcerate; unexplained open sore that does not heal, especially on feet or legs; any lump in the breast. Note: Only way to tell for sure is to biopsy the lump.
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