There are two types of contact dermatitis in pets, and they are irritant and allergic. Both types result in similar symptoms and are mainly caused by contact with various chemicals. While this pet health condition can occur in both dogs and cats, it is more common in canines. Contact dermatitis typically affects areas where the hair is thin such as the groin, feet, nose, abdomen and chin.
How Contact Dermatitis Affects Your Pet
As stated above, contact dermatitis is mainly caused by various chemicals. In irritant dermatitis, this can include such things as detergents, solvents, petroleum by-products and soaps. In allergy dermatitis, causes can include flea powders, fleas shampoos, flea collars, cat litter, plastic bowls, poison ivy or oak, fabrics, dyes in carpets, and leather. If your pet develops contact dermatitis, it will experience varying degrees of itchy skin. This will cause your dog or cat to scratch and bite at its body. In some cases, this can leave open lesions, which can make pets vulnerable to bacterial skin infections, or pyoderma.
Common Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis
The symptoms of contact dermatitis can vary greatly and can involve different areas of the body depending on what area has been affected. However, there are some common symptoms that you can look for on your pet, and they are listed below: Severe Itching, Red Rashes and/or Inflammation on the Skin, Weeping Sores, Foul-Smelling Skin, Blisters on the Skin, Crusty, Dry or Flaky Skin, Rough, Thickened Skin, Hair Loss and/or Bald Spots and Excessive Scratching and Biting.
Treatments for Contact Dermatitis
The type of treatment used for contact dermatitis varies depending on what caused the condition. In cases of allergy contact dermatitis, simply keeping your pet away from the allergen will help. This may include using metal food bowls rather than plastic, using herbal flea shampoos rather than those full of chemicals, and discontinuing the use of flea collars. Allergy shots and/or immune therapy may help relieve symptoms as well. However, if your pet's condition has caused rashes or sores, or is the result of exposure to irritants, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, corticosteroids and/or antihistamines.
As stated above, contact dermatitis can occur in any breed of dog or cat. However, it is much more common in canines. While this is not a breed specific disease, in the case of allergy contact dermatitis, there may be a genetic predisposition to the problem.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.