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An itch you can't scratch

Adopt a Pet Animal Welfare Pet Care Pets Pet Health Animals Posted Sep 15, 2020
Have you noticed your pet scratching? Help your pet to ditch that itch.

If you have noticed that your pet has been excessively scratching, it could be due to a variety of different skin ailments. While some skin ailments are quite common and easily identifiable, there are others which are more difficult to self-diagnose and complicated to treat. There are various ailments which could be causing your furry friend discomfort: infection, parasites, environmental allergens and food allergies.

Why is my pet itching?

Some common symptoms that your pet may have a skin ailment include:

  • Excessive scratching, licking or nipping of their skin and /or fur
  • Redness and swelling of their skin and/or fur
  • Hair loss
  • Scabby, flaky or scaly skin
  • Oozing or discharge
  • Swelling or bumps on or under the skin

It is recommended that you take your pet to see the vet if they show any of these signs.

Veterinarian and RSPCA Senior Scientific Officer Dr Sarah Zito states, "Most commonly, allergic skin disease is related to airborne particles like pollens and grasses. Insect bite allergies are also common, while food allergies are less common but still frequently seen in both cats and dogs.” When trying to locate the cause of the itch, your vet will likely consider factors such as parasitic infestation, environmental changes, seasonal changes, food and treats, tropical products including, shampoo, and insecticides.

Parasitic Infestation

Flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common skin ailments in animals. If your pet is excessively scratching and has red bumps on their skin, particularly located on the base of the tail, the belly or the inside of their legs, then it is likely that they have flea allergy dermatitis. Thankfully, there is no need to worry, as this condition is easily treatable and can help your pet achieve pawfect skin again. Firstly, it is recommended that you remove fleas from your furry friend and the environment around them. Secondly, spot on external treatments such as Bayer’s Seresto range for dogs and cats, helps to combat against fleas and internal parasites including, several types of worms. RSPCA World for Pets stocks a large range of flea treatment options online and in store.

Be sure to contact your vet to find out which product will best suit your cat or dog.

Contact allergies

Less commonly, contact allergies may also be causing your pet's discomfort. If you notice your pet has itchy red bumps, predominantly on areas such as their paw and belly, where there is little to no fur coverage, it may be a sign that they have a contact allergy. It is best to keep track of the itch to see if you can identify a pattern and visit your local vet for treatment advice.

cat with contact allergy on her nose

Food allergies

Food allergies are often caused by common pet food ingredients. While there aren't any tests available, which can clearly distinguish what types of foods your pet is allergic to, your vet can recommend a food elimination trial. This elimination diet involves feeding your pet the same food for at least six weeks, beginning with foods your pet has never been exposed to and then gradually introducing more foods that you have previously been feeding them. This diet will help to monitor and pin-point what types of food seem to cause an allergic reaction in your animal and make them begin to itch excessively.

It is really important to be patient when treating your pet's skin ailment. Some conditions may be more difficult to treat or identify, and therefore will take time to resolve. While the process may be frustrating, being patient and exploring all possible treatment options to attack that scratch will all be worth it once your beloved pet is happy and itch free!

Always contact your vet for information on your pet’s health concerns so you can find the best way to manage and eliminate the cause of their skin ailment.  

RSPCA QLD
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