Skin is the largest organ of your pet’s body. Therefore, your pet’s skin is an indication of his or her overall health.
However, for even the most observant and caring pet parent, it’s sometimes hard to know what skin issues are normal, occur with age, and perhaps will resolve on their own versus what conditions need further evaluation by your veterinarian for specific medical treatment.
Yes, your pet may have skin disease and you may not even realize it until your pet reacts with certain behaviors. When a skin problem occurs, your pet may respond with excessive scratching, chewing and/or licking.
A wide range of causes may affect your pet’s skin including external parasites, infections, allergies, metabolic problems, hormonal changes, stress, or a combination of these. Your pet’s missing fur may be a bald spot from a tumble, a flea allergy, or it could be caused by a fungus. Your veterinarian can run a simple lab test to ﬁgure out which one it is.
Have you noticed a lump, bump or lesion on your pet’s skin? It may be a benign tumor, or it may be a sign of something much worse such as cancer. If it’s left unchecked by your veterinarian too long, the area may spread to other organs. An earlier evaluation by your veterinarian can save your pet weeks and months of discomfort and even save its life.
Sometimes a black “spot” you thought was a freckle on your pet may actually be a tick. If your veterinary team removes it in a timely manner, your pet will likely not be infected by a tick-borne disease. If caught too late, your pet could be at risk for a number of debilitating illnesses.
Your pet’s annual exam is the ideal time for your veterinarian to make a full body assessment of his/her skin and overall health.
When you bring your pet in for their yearly checkup at Belle Mead Animal Hospital, we’ll do a complete skin assessment from nose to tail.We’ll look for spots, rashes, warts, skin tags, lumps, bumps and lesions. Our goal is to make a proper diagnosis of any condition found and suggest the right treatment plan to correct the problem.
Some of the things your veterinarian might need to do to make a proper diagnosis include:
- Skin biopsy
- Testing for ringworm
- Microscopic examination of the hair and skin for presence of parasites or infection
- Allergy testing
- Blood tests to assess your pet’s overall health
We will also help educate you on what to look for in between exams, so if a skin condition develops, you’ll feel comfortable calling for an appointment to let us help determine the real cause and proper treatment.
Dr. Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital