With this post comes the fifth and last of my passions in the rotation of categories within my “docsology” blog. I call if “Furry Friends” since, of course, it will fit in with the “F” theme. I hope you agree though that it is a fair description for the majority of pets people invite into their families.
Having practiced veterinary medicine for the better part of 40 years, I hope to continue being a part of pet care. One of the ways to do that is through the relatively new and brilliant idea of blogging. On these posts I plan to share some unique vet stories along the way. I also want to make it a place to educate and support pet owners as well.
THUMPER WONT STOP SCRATCHING!
Even though we are in the middle of January and snow showed up in the forecast recently, itching and scratching dogs and to some extent cats quickly comes to mind. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone that skin problems are easily one of the most common reasons pets find themselves in a vet clinic. At least in the southern states where we live. To be sure, spring, summer and fall are the peak times on the calendar for those visits. One huge factor causing the seasonal difference is that, generally speaking, pets spend more time outdoors in warmer weather. Another factor being the increased level of pollens and flourishing plants, grasses and trees. Not to mention external parasites like fleas and ticks. You see, a huge portion of skin conditions in pets can be traced to allergies. Here is one time it might be important to remember, “pets are not just small humans and cats are not just small dogs”. Reasons this is important are: pets don’t always react to diseases as people do and cats sometimes react very negatively to common treatments used in dogs. Here’s why that is relevant to itching pets.
****The majority of pets who have allergies develop skin problems and not sneezing, coughing and sinus congestion as humans do.
Pets frequently develop allergies to allergens inhaled in the air as well as by simple contact. Many pet owners are surprised to learn that food allergies are common in pets, too. Have you ever wondered why one pet can have numerous fleas and not seem to scratch much at all while another one scratches wildly and suffers with ugly hair loss although it is hard to find one or two fleas on their skin? The answer is, you guessed it, allergy. Not allergy to the flea crawling around. They are actually allergic to a protein in the saliva of the flea! For some really good information about skin diseases in pets go to www.MYPETITCHES.com to view a great website from Pfizer Animal Health.
Hey Doc, what’s this on my tummy?
Over the years I have seen some sights. I’ll just leave it at that. But I do want to mention a term every pet owner should understand. That word is zoonosis. It basically refers to diseases or infestations that are transferable from animals to humans. Some, of course are extremely serious. Rabies should come to mind. Others, while serious enough, are more of a nuisance and can be treated relatively easily. One of those is Scabies. It’s caused by mites living on the surface of dog skin which are easily transferred to unsuspecting pet owners by contact. First thing you know the proud owner of a new puppy has a very itchy and inflamed rash on their arms, legs, tummy or wherever” Mighty Dog” may have been allowed to get comfortable. Luckily the mites are very treatable on pets and people. Actually, the mite will not live long on humans since they thrive only on dog blood. But once an owner has seen several of those wiggly critters under a microscope it may take days for the itching to stop!
What subjects would please you to learn more about?