Skin infections can be a reason for dogs to visit a veterinarian, and some conditions can become worse without treatment. Giving your dog's skin proper care is one way to prevent infections, but it's also important to know what signs to look for in the event that your dog develops a condition. Here are a few signs to look for if you suspect your dog might have skin issues.
Loss Of Fur
Fur loss, or alopecia, can be the result of several different types of problems. Ringworm, mites, and bacterial infections can all cause fur loss. In some cases, the fur loss is accompanied by irritated skin or even rashes. If you notice clumps of fur falling out all over your dog's body, it may be time to see a veterinarian. However, keep in mind that some dogs do tend to shed fur in large clumps throughout the year. If your dog is losing patches of fur that are replaced by a new coat, this may simply be the result of seasonal shedding.
Sores And Skin Damage
If your dog is relentlessly scratching at his or her skin and you notice sores or damage near the areas that have been scratched, there may be an infection at play. In some cases, infections can be caused by a reaction to flea bites. If your dog continues to scratch and lick at these areas, he or she may be prone to a secondary infection. While you don't have to take your dog in to see the vet every time he or she scratches at the skin, sores and skin damage can be a sign it's time to go to the animal hospital.
Changes In Color Or Texture
If you notice changes in the color of your dog's skin, or if you notice it's become oily or flaky, these might be signs of a yeast infection. Yeast infections can also be accompanied by other symptoms shared with different types of infections, such as scratching, licking and fur loss. Your veterinarian can determine if there is a yeast infection at the root of the problem and prescribe medication to deal with it. In some cases, you may also need to treat your dog's skin with special shampoos or other treatments to help prevent the infection from spreading.
Sometimes, a skin infection can also present with more generalized symptoms, such as lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. If you notice changes in your dog's skin, fur, or behavior, consider paying a visit to the local animal hospital just to make sure there's not a more serious condition causing these symptoms. To learn more, visit a veterinary hospital like Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital.