An itchy skin in pets is an unpleasant sensation which provokes a scratching desire. When your cat or dog has an extremely itchy area, it could lead to self-mutilation.
Being the largest organ of your pet’s body, it has many nerves making it highly prone to sensations of touch, cold, heat, pain and itch.
Your pet itches because it is one of the ways of its body to remove “something”. Scratching is the body’s normal response to get rid of any chemical, microbe, or foreign body that may do further harm when in contact for a longer period of time. It provides temporary relief by turning off the first four sensations.
Excessive scratching leads to injury, aggression, and pain.
CAUSES OF ITCHY SKIN IN CATS AND DOGS
- Sarcoptic mange (microscopic skin parasite transferrable to you)
- Atopy (skin asthma-like allergic disease)
- Flea allergy (small skin parasites that bites your legs)
- Bacterial skin infection or “hotspots” (wet and greenish wounds on body)
- Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (psychological cat disease)
- Feline scabies (cat mange or microscopic parasite that burrows under the skin of the face and ears)
- Food allergy
- Allergic contact dermatitis (from chemicals or irritants, usually on belly, legs, and paws)
- Demodectic mange (microscopic skin parasite that is not transferrable to you)
- Pyoderma (superficial bacterial skin infection)
- Dermatophytosis (fungal infection of the skin)
- Seborrhea (extremely scaly and dry skin)
WHY YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR PET TO THE VET
To uncover the layers of problems of the skin, it is very important to have your pet undergo multiple skin tests. Apart from the physical exam, a skin scraping has good diagnostic value. A skin scraping is a procedure when your vet lightly scrapes multiple sites of the skin to acquire a sample. The sample is set under the microscope to identify the presence of mites that cause mange. If negative, more tests are needed to perform in order to rule out other conditions. I recommend not giving your pet a bath 3 days prior to the checkup in order to prevent a false negative result in skin scraping. If you have, tell your vet about this before you come.
You may not get answers and results right away as it usually takes a month or two to get a marked improvement, and unearth the layers of problems your pet has.