Now that summer is upon us, our pets are spending more time outdoors. They are enjoying ball fetching and insect catching. All is well until the scratching and itching begins.
Early in my career in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the skin problem I saw most often was flea bite dermatitis and flea allergy. Most insecticides were not very effective. We sprayed, bathed, and dipped dogs and cats, surrounding ourselves and our pets in toxic chemicals. In fact, I had to resort to using a potent cattle insecticide (Spot-On) for the severely flea allergic animals.
Mange is not as common in the 2000’s as it used to be back in the end of the last century, but is still around. You will need a veterinarian’s help to determine which of the two types are present and how to treat it. Itching is intense with Scabies and less intense with Demodectic mange.
Because our warm climate, fleas can persist even into the winter months. One of the most common reasons your dog or cat may itch is due to the presence of fleas. Always do a thorough inspection of the coat to ensure your pet is free of these pesky insects. If your pet is scratching, and you can’t find fleas, it is likely to be an allergy. This is extremely common. There are many misconceptions and misleading advertising messages out there. Talking to neighbors, pet store personnel, and Dr Google will frequently lead to remedies that don’t help. Team up with your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and management. You will be glad you did!
June 2014 Lorin D. Lawrence, DVM