Dog Eczema, Allergies, & Mange..Oh My!
One moment your dog is fine. Then suddenly his skin is a large, bleeding mess…is it dog eczema, allergies, or what?
If you’ve read any of our articles on dog allergies, you’ll know by now that dogs react to allergies, stress, and other health issues differently than humans.
Namely, they scratch!
Since you’re reading this, let’s assume you’re a caring, loving, attentive dog owner who wants to do right by your pet. When you notice unusual itchiness in your dog and he begins scratching away with unusual vigor, it’s time to take action. Why? Because if you let the scratching go too long, he runs the risk of developing dog eczema.
What is Dog Eczema?
When your dog ha eczema, he’s not happy. He has irritated, inflamed skin that not only itches like the dickens but also causes him to be in almost constant misery.
As he injures himself by chewing or scratching on his skin, it becomes inflamed and damaged. The damaged skin bleeds and “weeps” (a veterinary term for oozing skin sores). When that mess dries, it’s irritating so the dog scratches that. It becomes a terrible, vicious cycle of discomfort, even pain.
The difference between eczema, mange, and allergy symptoms in dogs is that with dog eczema, the skin flakes off. It’s scaly as heck and if you scrape it, there will be a blizzard of scales falling off.
Not only that, but dog eczema can literally explode overnight. You go to bed and everything’s normal. The next morning, you have a dog who’s been up all night scratching, chewing, and rubbing away at his skin and now it’s a weeping mess.
That’s why it’s good to try and nip these things in the bud. Eczema happens quickly and only gets worse if you don’t do anything about it. And your dog (poor thing, look at him) won’t do anything to help. He’ll just keep scratching away at it without ever wondering for a moment whether it might not be a good idea to scratch without abandon.
What Causes Dog Eczema?
Dog eczema is never the only problem. That’s because it’s not a disease, an illness, or an allergy. It’s a self-inflicted injury that occurs when your dog scratches himself to bits because of some other underlying problem.
Dog eczema will start off as harmless-looking dry skin. But as your dog indulges in scratching the itchy dry skin, it starts to get red and bumpy, and then the flakes will start appearing. Congratulations, your dog has scratched his way to a clear case of eczema!
The cause of dog eczema could be almost anything the world and therefore may be pretty difficult to pinpoint. In fact, I’m almost hesitant to show the following list because it really won’t help you determine what might be the cause of your dog’s eczema. The root causes of dog eczema are so varied, you may as well just chalk it up to “life itself”.
Nevertheless, here goes. Maybe something will jump out at you that’s obviously causing your dog’s condition. Things that can cause dog eczema:
- ear problems
- impacted anal glands
- yeast infection
- fungal infection
- viral infection
- bacterial infection
Wet Dog Eczema
If you live in a tropical or sub-tropical area and dog eczema has made its way into your life, then probably the first thing you want to do is see if your dog’s lifestyle isn’t causing his situation. He may have “wet eczema” or acute moist dermatitis. Some people also call it “hot spot eczema” or “summer eczema”.
Treatment involves clipping your dog’s hair so the skin can be aired out. Wash his skin to remove the crusts that have formed (and which may be compounding the problem). Use an antibacterial shampoo. In addition, sometimes your vet may prescribe an antibiotic, either injected, oral, and/or topical. In the worst cases of wet dog eczema, the vet will prescribe steroidal preparations. A medical dog collar (looks like a lamp shade) might help, too.
What Else Can You Do?
In addition to relieving your dog’s symptoms, the underlying cause of all that scratching must be determined. If you don’t live in a hot, moist area then check for fleas, a new food, or perhaps some new household cleaner you’re using, which may be causing your dog to suffer allergies.
It’s simply a matter of trial and error to find the cause of dog eczema. In the meantime, have your vet prescribe a medicated cream to relieve the itching and stop the scratching.