Cummings Veterinary Hospital

5111 Church Road
Easton, PA 18045

(610)923-0393

www.cummingsvet.com

Successful Treatment of Pet Skin Problems

Did you know the #1 reason owners take their pets to veterinarians is skin problems? Cummings Veterinary Hospital has a special interest in pet dermatology and underlying allergy issues that may be present.

Does your pet exhibit any of these classic symptoms of skin problems?

  • Constant licking, chewing, biting, or scratching
  • Shaking of the head.
  • Waxy or smelly ears?
  • Hair loss, scabs, or dandruff?
  • Changes in his or her skin or coat?

Although most skin problems are not emergencies, for the comfort of your pet, you will want to contact us if you see any of the signs listed above. Here’s the good news—once the cause is identified, most skin problems respond well to treatment.

There are hundreds of different types of skin diseases that can afflict cats and dogs. Sometimes fleas and ticks are the culprit, but there are a number of irritants that can affect the skin. Often skin problems are actually allergies.

Canine allergies tend to be caused by:

  • Fleas and other biting insects (flea allergy dermatitis)
  • Inhaled allergens such as dust mites, grasses, molds, and tree and weed pollens (canine atopy)
  • Food allergies
  • Contact with irritants (shampoos, cleaners, cigarette smoke, etc.)

Did you know some dog breeds are more prone to allergies and skin issues? They include:

  • Golden retrievers
  • Labs
  • Terriers
  • Boxers
  • German shepherds
  • Pugs
  • Mixed breeds

Allergies and skin problems don’t only plague our canine friends. Many cats also experience allergies.

We Identify the Allergen and Cause

At Cummings Veterinary Hospital, we utilize a number of diagnostic tools and capabilities to get to the root cause of the skin problem. Often the best way to treat pet skin issues is to identify the allergen and figure out how to avoid exposure. For example, many dogs are allergic to the saliva of fleas. So, controlling fleas both on the pet and in the environment is critical. Skin and blood tests will be run if a dust, mite, or flea allergy is suspected.

Surprisingly often, food allergies cause skin problems and accompanying inflammation. Food allergies are the over-response of your pet’s immune system to an invading protein. For cats, common allergies are fish and dairy. In the case of dogs, wheat, dairy, corn, beef, and other various proteins are typical offenders.

Through whatever means necessary—skin and blood tests, food trials, elimination diets, hypoallergenic veterinary food formulas—we’ll work diligently to identify the allergen and get your pet’s allergy under control.

And . . . We Manage the Allergy Symptoms

Shampoos, antihistamines, and nutraceuticals, such as omega fatty acids, help to manage the allergic condition and provide relief. If necessary, we will administer steroids to ease the inflammation and resulting discomfort, but our long-term goal is to get your pet off steroids due to possible side effects, such as:

  • Excess thirst
  • Excess hunger
  • Excess urination (which could lead to house-breaking issues)
  • Suppression of the immune system/bringing out latent infection (especially urinary tract infection and upper respiratory infection)
  • Raising blood sugar or destabilizing a borderline diabetic (especially a problem for cats)

Read more about food allergies in dogs from Modern Dog Magazine.