Constant itching in dogs can be caused by a number of problems and can lead to hair loss and damage to the skin leading to further infections and further itching in a vicious cycle.
A number of infectious causes exist for itching – the most common are:
- Mites (demodex or sarcoptes)
These may all have differing presentations and may require testing with a skin scrape / hair pluck and microscopy to be confirmed. The good news is these infections can all be treated and this may resolve the itching problem.
If, however, itching continues in the absence of any of these issues we may need to consider an allergic cause. Dogs can be allergic to a wide variety of things including food (even “hypoallergenic” foodstuffs such as duck, fish or rice) and environmental allergens such as certain species of grass or tree.
Blood testing can help to identify both environmental allergies and food allergies and intolorences that can cause your dog’s itch. This information can then be used to try and limit or avoid contact with these allergens. Food allergies can often be treated with a change of diet or with a special clinical diet where proteins have been “hydrolysed” to prevent them from triggering an allergic reaction. Environmental allergies may require long term treatment with medication to prevent itching and regular bathing with medicated shampoo to remove allergens as well as bacteria and fungi from the skin surface and coat.
As always please contact us if you would like to discuss anything or would like any further information!