Itchy skin

You will recognise that your cat or dog is suffering from itchy skin by the fact that it spends most of its time scratching or biting itself, licking itself and trying to rub away at the affected area of skin, where you will find red blotches, pustules or pimples. Other signs include excessive fur shedding, flaky or peeling skin, crusts or thicker skin. Experts term this condition pruritus (extremely itchy skin). This condition is not pleasant for the animal at all in itself, but subsequent scratching can bring about an inflammatory reaction, meaning that the animal’s condition becomes even worse. There are many causes of itching, from allergies to parasitic diseases and hormonal imbalance to infections.

The causes of skin disease

1/ Allergy. One of the most common forms is allergy to flea bites. This is mainly seen in the area around the tail, the ridge above the tail or in the thigh area. Sores appear in these areas and the fur falls out. Animals might also react sensitively to bites from other kinds of insects, which is mainly seen on the bridge of the snout and on the ears. They might also be allergic to feed or, more specifically, to some of the ingredients used in feed, most commonly beef or chicken proteins or wheat, corn or soya. Environmental factors can also play a part, such as pollen, dust or mould. In such cases the itchy areas most commonly occur on the paws or on the belly. Another form of allergy in animals is atopy, meaning a reaction to allergens in the air (pollen, house dust and mites). These problems are seen in itchy paws, ears or snout and around the eyes. Contact allergies, which occur when the skin comes into contact with some kind of inappropriate material, are a rare form of allergy.

2/ Other sources. Fleas, nits and mites are a common cause of irritated skin and a suitable anti-parasitic shampoo must be used against them. Itchy skin is also sometimes caused by hormonal imbalance or bacterial infection.

Treating problems

To treat these problems, you need to find out what is causing them. First and foremost, you need to calm the itchy skin, for which using anti-histamines and adding fatty acids to feed has proven successful. It is also recommended that you apply a soothing shampoo containing various active ingredients. Some might also contain a local anaesthetic or corticoids. These generally moisten the skin, meaning that they can be used relatively often. It is also essential when dealing with these problems to keep the animal’s fur clean and brushed, with no unwanted clumps.

N.B.

If you suspect your animal is suffering from an illness, seek out a vet, who will be best qualified to diagnose the illness and recommend a suitable treatment method.

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Medivet

Shampoo

Active ingredients:Octopirox|Ketoconazole

Medivet

A special shampoo designed to deal with severe symptoms of flaking and itchy skin and fur among dogs, cats, horses and other animals. Helps eliminate the problems caused by allergies, parasites, hormonal imbalance or bacterial infection.

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