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Dog rash: causes and treatment [veterinarian's recommendations

Dog rash

Rash we call characteristic changes that appear on the skin and / or mucous membranes. Professionally, these changes are called skin eruptions. Rashes will appear relatively frequently in dogs.

The rash is not a characteristic symptom of any disease and can take many forms and appear in different locations on the dog's body. Sometimes the rash in a dog is itchy and causes a strong reaction from the pet, but sometimes it is painless.

This is a symptom that occurs with many diseases, sometimes they are minor seasonal disturbances or a reaction to an insect bite, and sometimes very serious diseases, so it is always worth consulting a veterinarian for the appearance of a rash in our pet.

The dog's skin is its largest organ, and depending on the size of the animal, it may constitute from 12% to even 24% of its body weight. It fulfills many functions, including a protective barrier against external factors such as microorganisms, physical and chemical factors, protecting internal organs and the entire body. It also takes part in thermoregulation and is a place where touch receptors are located.

The skin is also an indicator of the animal's health condition, because on its surface you can see not only the symptoms of external diseases, but also some internal diseases. The structure of a dog's skin differs from that of a human, mainly because there are no sweat glands in it, and the pH (pH) is around 7.2-7.4, so it is close to neutral. This is very important when choosing care products, such as dog shampoos or conditioners.

  • What are skin eruptions?
  • Dog bacterial dermatitis
  • Mycoses of the skin in a dog
  • Skin parasitic diseases
    • Demodex
    • Scabies
  • Immune diseases manifested by a rash
    • Food hypersensitivity
    • Contact allergy
    • Contact irritant dermatitis
  • Cutaneous drug reactions
  • Flea bite hypersensitivity (FAD)
  • Atopic dermatitis

What are skin eruptions?

Eruptions are skin lesions that are the basic symptom of dermatological diseases. Their appearance and characteristic structure enable an initial diagnosis. There are two types of eruptions:

  • primary,
  • secondary.

Primary lesions appear on the skin in the initial stage of the disease, when we begin to observe the first changes on the skin.

These include, among others:

  • stain,
  • clod,
  • bubble,
  • lump,
  • bubble,
  • bladder,
  • pimple.

We call their appearance a rash.

Secondary eruptions arise as a result of primary eruptions descending and occur in the period of further development or disappearance of the disease. Belong to them:

  • erosion,
  • rubbing,
  • sore,
  • ulcer,
  • wound,
  • chasm,
  • gap,
  • scab,
  • husk,
  • scar.

A stain is a change imperceptible to the touch, lying in the plane of the skin and not protruding above its surface. It differs in color from the surrounding skin, it is well demarcated. There are several types of stains, they can be changes:

  • Dye-related, related to pigmentation disorders, resulting either from excessive deposition of the pigment - melanin, an example of such changes are moles, or with a reduction in the amount of dye - then we are dealing with discoloration, an example of which is vitiligo. Such eruptions can be caused by the use of antibiotics, UV rays, or have a hormonal background. As a rule, these changes are not dangerous, but sometimes they can be confused, for example, with melanoma, and inconspicuous discoloration may be a symptom of serious autoimmune diseases (lupus erythematosus, exfoliative lupus erythematosus, pemphigus deciduous, pemphigus erythematosus, pemphigoid mucosa) or neoplasms.
  • Inflammatory - in this case we are dealing with erythema, i.e. temporary, local redness of the skin caused by the expansion of blood vessels. It is related to hyperemia caused by inflammation taking place in this area. An example is erythema migrans, which occurs very rarely in dogs, but is a specific symptom of Lyme disease. A characteristic feature of these stains is that they fade when pressed.
  • Vascular - extravasation, permanent vasodilation or small vessel neoplasm (flat hemangioma).
  • Deposits - dark gray spots in silvery or mercury poisoning.

The papule is an eruption raised above the skin surface, of various dimensions, well-demarcated, different from the surrounding skin in terms of cohesiveness, hard to the touch. It disappears without leaving any traces.

We distinguish lumps:

  • epidermal (caused by an overgrowth of the epidermis),
  • mixed - dermal - epidermal (changes affect both the epidermis and the dermis),
  • dermal.

Diffuse papules that develop rashes appear, among others, with:

  • mycoses of the skin (dermatophytosis),
  • food and contact allergies,
  • superficial pyoderma,
  • certain skin parasitic diseases.

Urticarial blister is a lesion raised above the skin surface, which appears very quickly and disappears just as quickly (up to 48 - 72 hours) without leaving any traces. The reason for its formation is the appearing swelling of the dermis.

The appearance of multiple blisters is called urticaria. This is a symptom of a severe allergy, for example to food.

Lumps are eruptions raised above the skin surface, with a size not exceeding 1 cm, which are associated with changes in the dermis, where there is a cellular infiltration. When they give way, they leave scars. Lumps are not very specific changes and many diseases can be associated with them, the most common are:

  • various types of infections (actinomycosis, subcutaneous abscesses, mycosis),
  • some autoimmune diseases (lupus erythematosus),
  • other changes, for example hormonal or cancerous.

Larger nodular eruptions lying both in the skin and in the subcutaneous tissue, larger than 1 cm in size, are called tumors. Examples are benign and malignant neoplastic changes.

The vesicle and bladder are eruptions raised above the surface of the skin, filled with fluid that accumulates in the delaminated skin. They clear up without leaving a scar. If they exceed 0.5 cm, they are called blisters.

A pustule, on the other hand, is also an exanthema above the skin surface, it may be filled with purulent content from the beginning or it may arise from blisters or vesicles as a result of secondary bacterial infection. Their size does not exceed 1 cm, when they are larger they are called abscesses.

There are many diseases that manifest themselves as rashes. These are both diseases affecting the skin itself, i.e. mycoses, parasitic infections (demodicosis, flea infestation, scabies) or contact allergies, as well as diseases manifested in the form of changes on the skin, but affecting other organs and systems - endocrine diseases (including hypothyroidism , overactive adrenal cortex), food hypersensitivity, autoimmune diseases (lupus, pemphigus).

The rash is also a characteristic allergic symptom that appears after the administration of drugs (drug rash). Additionally, each bacterial dermatitis presents with a more or less pronounced rash in the form of pustules, papules or vesicles, and may appear secondary to any skin lesion. Then the primary disease may not have anything to do with the emerging rash, often such situations are observed, among others, in atopic dermatitis, dermatophytosis or parasitic skin diseases.

Dog bacterial dermatitis

Bacterial dermatitis, also called purulent inflammation, can be classified according to the depth of infection into superficial, superficial and deep.

Superficial phlegmon is a bacterial overgrowth on the skin surface, superficial pyoderma refers to a bacterial infection that penetrates deeper but is limited to the stratum corneum.

Deep pyoderma is usually a consequence of superficial pyoderma. It is caused by the appearance of an infection below the basal layer of the epidermis, i.e. in the dermis and / or subcutaneous tissue.

In most cases, pyoderma is a secondary bacterial complication of other diseases. During their duration, the natural barriers of the skin are violated or the functioning of the immune system is disturbed, which contributes to the excessive multiplication of bacteria living on the surface of the skin and facilitates their penetration into the epidermis structures.

Often, bacterial infections are a complication of self-injury to the skin resulting from severe itching or pain. The animals then intensively bite, lick, scratch or rub specific places, damaging the epidermis and skin, creating wounds of various depths that are very quickly infected with bacteria.

Such changes are called purulent - traumatic dermatitis - hot spots. Such injuries occur most often in the months when the air temperature and humidity are high, and they are often caused by flea or other insect bites (mosquitoes, flies, etc.).

Bacterial inflammatory changes are manifested by the sudden appearance of papules and pustules and a strong red, itchy erythema, which, due to mechanical damage, quickly turns into erosions covered with crusts. Hair thinning is also rapidly progressing, which in a very short time turns into baldness sharply separated from healthy skin.

Diagnosis is based on cytological examination of the altered sites, and treatment is based on topical or systemic antibiotics. It is advisable to perform an antibiogram before selecting drugs. It is also very important to identify and eliminate the primary disease.

Mycoses of the skin in a dog

Ringworm in a dog

Cutaneous mycoses can be divided into two categories. The first is dermatophytosis caused by keratin-eating dermatophytes, and the second is mycoses caused by yeasts of the genus Malassezia, Candida or yeast-like organisms of the genus Trichosporon.

The clinical picture of mycoses is so diverse that it may suggest many other skin diseases. The lesions can be both inflammatory and non-inflammatory, with or without severe erythema, papular rash, and may or may not be alopecia and itching.

Changes appear in the interdigital spaces, on the ventral surface of the neck, skin of the extremities, perianal area and in the armpits. The coat is dull and brittle. Usually there is also a characteristic, unpleasant smell.

Therefore, the diagnosis cannot be made solely on the basis of history and clinical symptoms, but must be supported by additional research. The most common are mycological culture, Wood's lamp examination and microscopic hair examination.

Puppies and older animals are at increased risk compared to other animals. The risk group also includes weakened animals, dogs with reduced immunity, the homeless, living in large groups, frequently participating in exhibitions, bathed too often, especially in cosmetics not intended for them.

Predisposed breeds include:

  • dalmatians,
  • poodles,
  • Jack Russell Terriers,
  • Manchester Terriers,
  • yorkshire terriers.

The development of mycoses is also favored by high ambient temperature and high humidity.

Treatment consists of topical application of, among others, clotrimazole, ketoconazole, chlorhexidine or selenium sulphide, most often in the form of a shampoo or ointment. Oral treatment (itraconazole, fluconazole or terbinafine) is used with more severe lesions.

In both cases, the treatment is long-term and requires continuation until the symptoms and negative results of additional tests are completely gone.

Parasitic skin diseases


Demodicosis in a dog

Demodicosis is a common canine disease that can occur in many different ways. There are local and generalized forms. Within the generalized form, the juvenile form (much more common) and the adult form (demodicosis of adult dogs) are distinguished.

Demodicosis may be mild and cause only local, mild symptoms or be very severe, often directly threatening the life of the animal. It is a disease that is difficult to diagnose due to the lack of a universal clinical picture.

Symptoms accompanying this disease are very diverse. In some patients, it manifests itself only as local lesions of a local rash, papules, redness and alopecia, of varying intensity. There is also a generalized form, which can resemble many diseases, such as, for example, purulent superficial or deep dermatitis, seborrheic disorders or autoimmune diseases.

The development of generalized demodicosis depends primarily on the proper functioning of the immune system. Since the abnormalities of the immune system in young animals are predominantly genetically determined, this disease shows a racial predisposition. A greater incidence of the disease is observed in dogs of such breeds as:

  • staffordshire terrier,
  • boston terrier,
  • french bulldog,
  • pug,
  • cavalier king charles spaniel,
  • Bernese Mountain Dog,
  • German pointer,
  • boxer,
  • English bulldog,
  • doberman,
  • great dane,
  • argentinian dog,
  • dogue de bordeaux,
  • jack russell terrier,
  • Neapolitan Mastiff,
  • Scottish Terrier,
  • shar pei,
  • shih tzu,
  • rottweiler,
  • Newfoundland,
  • west highland white terrier,
  • whippet,
  • yorkshire terrier.

The occurrence of demodicosis is also favored by coexisting parasitic invasions (intestinal nematodes, coccidia). In adults, a failing immune system is usually associated with immunosuppression secondary to:

  • Cushing's syndrome,
  • hypothyroidism,
  • diabetes,
  • certain cancers,
  • ongoing immunosuppressive therapy,
  • other processes that impair immunity (such as malnutrition, stress and lactation).

As I mentioned, the appearance of the skin eruptions and the course of demodicosis are very diverse. The local form is much more common in young animals (between 3 - 6 months of age) and is associated with the occurrence of several delimited, asymmetrical alopecia areas.

Hair loss is usually accompanied by erythema and peeling of the epidermis, hyperpigmentation and blackheads. The most common lesions are around the eyes, lips, limbs and torso.

In the course of the local form of demodicosis, secondary infections are not frequent, and in the presence of papules, pustules, crusts, seborrheic changes and pruritus. In the case of this form of demodicosis, about 90% of cases heal spontaneously (most often within 6 - 8 weeks), the remaining 10% turns into a generalized form.

Generalized demodicosis may develop from a local form or arise as the primary form of the disease. In its course, changes affect the entire area or the entire body. In some patients with generalized demodicosis, systemic symptoms such as lymphadenopathy, fever, dehydration and electrolyte disturbances, and even fatal sepsis are observed.

Additionally, in chronic forms of demodicosis, glomerulonephritis may occur. These symptoms are usually the result of advanced secondary infections.

Diagnostics, apart from an interview and clinical examination, is supplemented with microscopic examination of scrapings and trichoscopic examination of hair, and sometimes also histopathological, cytological and microbiological examination.

Treatment depends on the form of demodicosis and the patient's condition. Parasite elimination drugs are used (amitraz, moxidectin, ivermectin, milbemycin), shampoo therapy to accelerate exfoliation, antipruritic treatment. Antibiotic therapy is necessary in secondary bacterial infections. It is also very important to identify and control the underlying disease, if any.


Scabies in a dog

Scabies in dogs are caused by hollow scabies. These parasites dig out corridors and pockets in the superficial layer of the epidermis, where they feed on exfoliated epidermis and the resulting exudate. After 3 - 5 days, the larvae hatch from the eggs laid by females, which dig tunnels in the superficial layers of the skin and in the hair follicles, where they moult and mature.

Dogs most often become infected as a result of direct contact with sick individuals, through dog beds or grooming equipment. Hollowing scabies are common in homeless dogs, which is why dogs that have previously stayed in shelters, had contact with stray dogs or visited nursing salons are ill. However, foxes are the primary source of infection.

Scabies, like mycoses, is a zoonosis and contact with an infected dog can lead to the development of the disease in humans. Skin lesions in dogs occur mainly on the head, the edges of the auricles, on the limbs, around the elbows and ankles, and on the ventral surface of the torso and thorax. With an intensive disease, the lesions may cover the entire body surface.

Initially, papules, rash, erythema appear, and then scabs and hair loss appear. Penetrating scabies is characterized by severe itching, poorly responding to the administered antipruritic drugs, often appearing before the appearance of any lesions on the skin.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of the history, clinical examination and the result of the scrap performed. In the elimination of scabies, among others, selamectin, ivermectin, doramectin, milbemycin and moxidectin are used. Additionally, shampoo therapy and treatment of possible complications are indicated.

Immune diseases manifested by a rash

Food hypersensitivity

Food hypersensitivity (food allergy) is an adverse reaction of the immune system to one or more components of the animal's food. Any food component can be an allergenic factor, most often they are proteins (beef and chicken are the best) and carbohydrates. Dogs of any age can get sick, although it is more common in animals under the age of 1.

An allergy can also appear suddenly, even after using the same food for several years. The disease is common, the most common are West Highland White Terriers, Pugs, Boxers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks and German Shepherds, but more and more often it is also diagnosed in mongrels.

Intestinal infections and the presence of intestinal parasites are factors that may predispose to food allergy.

The characteristic symptom is itching, which continues regardless of the season and affects the ears, paw pads, groin, armpits, neck and perineum. The second symptom that suggests that we may be dealing with a food allergy is recurrent ear infections. Additionally, on the skin, especially around the abdomen and anus, erythema and a lumpy rash appear, and as a result of self-mutilation, hair loss, cross-hairs, wounds, scabs and hyperpigmentation appear.

Secondary bacterial and fungal infections are very common. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, flatulence and vomiting occur in approximately 20-30% of patients. Respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing or runny nose, are even more rarely seen. Food intolerance also gives very similar symptoms, but in this case, the associated symptoms result from disturbances in the metabolic background (for example, the lack of one of the food enzymes) or the harmful effect of toxic ingredients in the food on the cells lining the intestines.

In animals with food allergies, there is a disruption of the natural immune mechanisms when the immune system overloads molecules that do not pose a threat to the body.

The diagnosis is made on the basis of a dietary test, which involves the use of a hydrolyzed diet or, alternatively, one based on one source of protein and carbohydrates, preferably one that the animal has not previously eaten. The latter option, however, is not always effective, as it may turn out that the animal is also allergic to this type of food.

Additionally, an animal suffering from hypersensitivity to chicken protein, for example, may also develop an adverse reaction after consuming turkey or quail. This is because the closer two animal species are related, the more likely a cross-reaction is to occur.

Such a reaction cannot occur between proteins derived from vertebrates and invertebrates, i.e. animals of different types. The diet is followed for 10-12 weeks and if all symptoms disappear, food allergy is confirmed.

A dietary challenge test can then be performed with one new nutrient, such as chicken. If itching, rash or other signs of hypersensitivity appear after a few hours or days (up to 10 days), the animal is allergic to this component.

Each introduced ingredient requires a separate provocation test, which we conduct 2 - 4 weeks apart. Very often, hypersensitivity affects several proteins and / or carbohydrates.

There are over a dozen hypoallergenic foods based on hydrolysed proteins available on the market. The process of protein hydrolysis breaks them down into very small fragments, so small that they are not recognized by the digestive system in the intestines. There are also feeds based on one unique source of animal protein, which are Hermetia illucens fly larvae, and on one source of carbohydrates - potatoes. This composition is to prevent the development of immune reactions (food allergy) or non-immune reactions (food intolerance) in the form of skin problems and / or digestive problems.

It is very important not to give the dog any other snacks during the diet, and if you decide to have any, choose only those that also contain only hydrolyzed protein. Some animals do not respond to commercial dog foods because they are allergic to the preservatives or dyes used in these foods. Such animals should be boiled. In the case of a home diet, it is very important to correctly compose and balance the ration, preferably under the supervision of a veterinary nutritionist.

In the case of animals, intradermal and serological tests have little diagnostic value, therefore the elimination diet remains the most reliable diagnostic method. Before starting it, treat any bacterial and fungal superinfections and exclude parasitic skin diseases. To reduce the symptoms, topical treatment is used in the form of antibacterial shampoos and moisturizing and anti-itching conditioners or aerosols.

In the case of severe itching, antihistamines and / or glucocorticosteroids can be used (in the case of food allergies, they do not always work). The antipruritic effect is also demonstrated by polyunsaturated fatty acids used orally for several weeks, which can be combined with antihistamines and glucocorticosteroids or used as monotherapy.

Contact allergy

Contact allergic dermatitis in dogs is quite rare due to the presence of a coat that protects the skin from direct contact with environmental antigens. If the disease develops, the lesions are most often located on poorly hairy skin, mainly around the armpits and groin, on the abdomen, scrotum or in the interdigital spaces.

If you are allergic to medications, symptoms appear where they have been applied, such as the external ear canal. Allergic contact dermatitis is a disease that develops after repeated exposure to an antigen that causes an abnormal response of the delayed-type immune system, so symptoms of the disease may appear even after several years of exposure to the agent.

The disease most often develops in adult animals. Predisposition is shown by such breeds as:

  • German Shepherd,
  • Scottish Terrier,
  • fox terrier,
  • west highland white terrier,
  • poodles,
  • golden retriever.

The cause of the disease are haptens, i.e. substances that do not show immunogenicity themselves, and only after combining with a suitable protein in the skin become an allergen recognizable by the immune system.

Such properties have, among others:

  • metals:
    • chrome - contained in cement and leather collars,
    • nickel - metal collars,
    • cobalt,
  • dyes,
  • epoxy resins,
  • herbicides,
  • gum,
  • formaldehyde,
  • artificial fabrics,
  • dinitrochlorbenzene,
  • preservatives,
  • components of topical drugs:
    • neomycin,
    • kanamycin,
    • spectinomycin,
    • streptomycin,
    • tobramycin,
    • bacitracin,
    • gentamicin,
    • chloramphenicol,
    • lanolin,
    • glucocorticosteroids,
    • chlorhexidine,
    • benzoyl peroxide,
    • clotrimazole,
    • tea tree oil,
    • peruvian balm,
    • thiabendazole,
    • tretinoin,
  • a series of plants:
    • chrysanthemum,
    • dahlia,
    • primula,
    • ivy,
    • lilac,
    • pine and other conifers,
    • dandelion,
    • triple serpentine,
    • camellia,
    • jumper,
    • cedar,
    • ivy.

The symptom of inflammation is the appearance of skin lesions, such as erythema and exudative papule, 48 - 72 hours after re-contact with the allergen. These lesions are usually vaguely demarcated from the environment, as they are accompanied by severe itching of the skin, which is the main cause of the spread of clinical symptoms to neighboring areas of better hairy skin.

Diagnosing contact dermatitis is difficult because it requires determining what substances the animal is in contact with and any changes that have occurred in its environment over the past three years. The causative agent of the allergy should be identified and eliminated from the animal's environment. It should also be removed from the animal's body surface by bathing in a hypoallergenic shampoo.

Symptoms include antipruritic drugs (glucocorticosteroids and antihistamines) both locally and systemically, as well as antibiotics and / or antifungal drugs in the case of secondary bacterial and / or fungal infections. Glucocorticosteroids in appropriate doses also have an immunosuppressive effect, which suppresses (depending on the route of administration - local or general) the response of the immune system.

Contact irritant dermatitis

Contact irritant dermatitis in dogs is a disease that occurs as an adverse reaction to administered medications or following contact with detergents and other skin irritants. Because the hairy skin is less sensitive to irritants, most lesions appear in areas with poor hair.

Changes to large areas of the body occur when the irritant is present in shampoos or lotions that are applied to large areas of the skin. The mechanism of action of skin irritants is based on the dehydration of the skin and coagulation of skin proteins, and in extreme cases also necrosis.

Clinical signs of irritation contact dermatitis are confined to the site of action of the irritant and clearly separate from healthy skin. The changes may be limited (local) or generalized. Symptoms usually develop almost immediately after contact with a given substance, but in the case of mildly irritating substances, symptoms may appear only after several contact with them.

The most common symptoms are erythema and lumpy rash, then scales and scabs appear.

In chronic cases, lichen, alopecia and discoloration appear. Usually, the changes are accompanied by itching to varying degrees.

Irritating substances are mainly acids and bases, but also plastics, detergents and solvents. The most common factors responsible for irritant reactions in dogs are:

  • flea collars,
  • insecticides,
  • kerosene and other petroleum products,
  • turpentine,
  • varnishes,
  • tar,
  • phenol,
  • cresol,
  • iodine products,
  • chlorinated water,
  • quaternary ammonium compounds,
  • artificial fertilizers,
  • benzoyl peroxide.

As with allergic contact dermatitis, remove the irritant from the animal's skin by bathing in a mild hypoallergenic shampoo and, if necessary, apply appropriate antibacterial, antipruritic, or dressing treatments for deep skin lesions.

Cutaneous drug reactions

Each drug can cause drug-induced skin reactions and rashes, but they are not substance-specific. Different preparations can cause identical changes on the skin and / or mucous membranes, and the same drug - different clinical symptoms.

These include non-allergic and allergic reactions - both immediate, i.e. anaphylaxis, and delayed responses, i.e. vasculitis or contact dermatitis.

Drugs that may cause these reactions include, but are not limited to:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • radiological contrast agents,
  • mannitol,
  • dextran,
  • local anesthetics,
  • ampicillin,
  • sulfonamides,
  • furosemide,
  • penicillins,
  • tetracyclines.

Drug-induced skin reactions can occur after the administration of drugs orally, topically and by injection. Sometimes a single administration is sufficient, and in some cases the side effect may appear after several administrations or after long-term treatment.

Drug-induced cutaneous side effects include rashes with the nature of urticaria, papules, pustules, vesicles, purpura, erythema or changes in the form of angioedema, alopecia, erythema multiforme, toxic epidermal necrolysis or erosions and ulcerations. Appearing pustular eruptions are initially limited to the skin of the facial area and the flexion surfaces of the limbs, and over time they tend to develop a generalized pustular eruption.

A careful history is very important in the diagnosis of hypersensitivity or intolerance to drugs. It should include information on the onset, course, duration and location of symptoms, the time between the onset of symptoms and the administration of a given drug, previous use of the suspected drug, all recently administered drugs, occurrence of atopy, other diseases, possible earlier occurrence of other drug reactions.

Treatment is by stopping all medicines that are suspected of causing the disease. Symptomatic treatment (for example, hydration) and antibacterial therapy are sometimes required.

Flea bite hypersensitivity (FAD)

Flea allergy dermatitis (hypersensitivity to flea bites) is a common disease caused by hypersensitivity to proteins in flea saliva. It most often appears seasonally, in late autumn.

It is mistakenly associated with neglected animals, but it affects the most severely animals that have occasional contact with external parasites. No racial or gender-related predisposition has been demonstrated, the occurrence of the disease is determined by individual sensitivity to substances contained in fleas' saliva. One bite is enough for the appearance of symptoms.

First, there is severe itching and lumpy rash located in the lumbosacral region, at the base of the tail and on the sides of the body and thighs. The animal scratches intensely, which is why secondary erythema, strong hair thinning and mechanical damage to the skin, which sometimes become infected with bacteria.

Fleas or fleas are very rarely found on examination. Depending on the intensity of the symptoms, local or systemic antipruritic drugs are used. Antibiotic treatment is required in the case of bacterial superinfections. In animals susceptible to bites, it is very important to regularly apply flea prevention to all pets in the house, throughout the year, also in winter.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis in dogs is a common and common disease. May show as a rash.

According to the definition, it is a hereditary tendency to the occurrence of itchy inflammatory skin lesions. The sick animal produces IgE antibodies directed most often against environmental allergens.

Atopy occurs in dogs between six months and three years of age and is characterized by itching and secondary skin lesions with a characteristic distribution that includes the face (skin around the lips and eyes), the inner surfaces of the ears, the abdomen, and the flexor surfaces of the elbows. , wrists and ankles, the perianal area, and the skin of the interdigital spaces.

Initial clinical signs of atopy develop from scratching, chafing, biting, and excessive cleaning or licking of hair caused by severe itching. There may also be erythema and lumpy rash.

Depending on the type of allergenic allergens, symptoms may be seasonal, but most often last throughout the year. Diagnosing the disease is not easy, when making a diagnosis, a careful interview should be made, taking into account:

  • the age of the animal during the appearance of the first skin lesions,
  • seasonality of symptoms,
  • the presence of itching itself in the absence of skin changes in the initial stage of the disease,
  • belonging to predisposed breeds:
    • west highland white terrier,
    • golden retriever,
    • labrador retriever,
    • German Shepherd,
    • boxer,
    • French Bulldog,
    • bull terrier,
    • shar pei,
  • family history of atopy,
  • the animal's response to previous glucocorticoid treatment.

The criteria for assessing clinical symptoms are also characteristic - the so-called "Favrot clinical criteria ", if the patient meets five of the eight criteria, this method is characterized by sensitivity and specificity at the level of about 80%. These criteria are as follows:

  1. Onset of the first symptoms of the disease before the 3rd. year of life.
  2. The dog is mostly at home.
  3. Relief of pruritus after administration of glucocorticosteroids.
  4. The presence of itching itself in the absence of skin changes in the initial stage of the disease.
  5. Skin lesions affecting the peripheral parts of the thoracic limbs.
  6. Skin lesions involving the auricles.
  7. No changes at the edges of the auricles.
  8. No changes in the lumbosacral region.

Additionally, allergic tests are performed, including determination of serum IgE antibodies and intradermal tests. To minimize the risk of misdiagnosis, it is also necessary to exclude other diseases with a clinical picture similar to atopy, such as flea allergy dermatitis, ectoparasitic diseases (scabies, cheletelosis, head lice, thrombiculosis, ear mites) and primary skin infections.

The basic diagnostic tests to exclude the presence of ectoparasites are: a comb test, skin scrapings, microscopic examination of torn hair and cytological examination of the skin and ear canals.

Atopic dermatitis in dogs is a multifactorial chronic disease that requires multidirectional treatment so that the itching and inflammation of the skin does not cause clinical symptoms and discomfort in the animal. Treatment consists of two components, the first is to treat itching and inflammation, and the second is to combat the triggers of flare-ups.

Common triggers are flea infestation and allergy to insect bites, an overgrowth of bacterial flora or yeasts on the surface of the skin, and contact with certain environmental and food allergens. Atopic dermatitis caused by food and environmental allergens may have identical clinical symptoms and, moreover, may coexist at the same time in one patient.

Patients should identify and eliminate such factors by, for example, following a hypoallergenic diet, full and continuous flea prevention and / or reducing the amount of allergens in the environment (house dust mites and pollen).

The only causal treatment of atopy caused by environmental allergens is specific allergen immunotherapy, or desensitization. It consists in subcutaneously administering to the patient gradually increasing doses of allergens to which he is allergic. Although specific immunotherapy is not effective for every atopic dog, approximately 50% of dogs experience reduction in clinical symptoms within 12 months of treatment, and 80% manage to reduce the dose of antipruritic / anti-inflammatory drugs.

Anti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs (glucocorticosteroids) are used both topically and generally in the first few weeks until the skin lesions have subsided. Then topical glucocorticoid treatment is continued to reduce inflammation. Drugs limiting the administration of glucocorticosteroids can also be used, such as, for example:

  • cyclosporine,
  • monoclonal antibodies,
  • antihistamines.

Above I have only shown a small fraction of the rash diseases. As the vast majority of dog dermatological diseases are associated with this symptom, to describe all of them, the entire textbook on veterinary dermatology should be included in this article.

Virtually every skin disease at some point in its duration is manifested by the presence of rash, papules, nodules, pustules, blisters, blisters, various types of spots or erythema. In addition, some internal diseases, for example endocrine diseases, also manifest themselves through skin lesions, including rash. The changes that appear can be very different, due to the fact that the term rash covers a lot. It is a vague term, although known and common to everyone.

A rash that appears is not always a serious symptom, but it is always worth consulting a veterinarian. Especially if the rash appears suddenly and is rapid, accompanied by a rapidly deteriorating condition in our pet, and if it lasts a long time, it is accompanied by itching and pain. Each change on the skin causes more or less discomfort to the animal, so it is worth going to the veterinary office without undue delay and ruling out more serious diseases and choosing soothing agents for the emerging rash.

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