Ask Dr Claire
Dog is scratching, licking, biting at skin very badly
My dog is scratching, licking, biting very badly. He is shedding in the areas that’s he is scratching (chest, sides of chest). He had red blotchy bumps on his chest and sides. And his skin is becoming harder and thick in various effected areas.
Itchy skin is really just a symptom and can be the result of many underlying causes. In this case, we really need to find the cause of the itchy skin (causing red blotchy spots) so that we can treat your dog’s problem (not just the symptom). This will help us reach the best treatment plan too.
Some of the underlying causes of itchy skin might be:
- Allergies– environmental pollens, food, fleas. We know that when humans have allergies to pollens etc they react by sneezing or getting watery eyes. In dogs, the common reaction to an allergen is that their skin gets itchy. Allergies causing itchy skin include food (additive, protein or carbohydrate), fleas and environmental pollens- either breathed in or physically touched.
- Mites– demodex or sarcoptes. Your local vet needs to do some simple tests to diagnose these, a few skin scrapes are performed (no anaesthetic needed) and then they look under the microscope, searching for the mites.
- Direct irritant- such as a topical cream, weed, wash or insect bite.
Skin will become more pigmented and thickened in areas of chronic irritation. A hands-on examination from your local vet is a great place to start.
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