Zoetis (a large veterinary drug company) has declared August as the month to have discussions about itchy animals and what we can do to preserve their quality of life.
The #1 offender? Fleas. You don’t always have to see the actual flea for an animal to have a flea allergy. Oftentimes, the pet is so sensitive that the minute the flea bites, the pet bites back/eats the flea, but the tiny amount of flea saliva remains behind to wreak havoc on the body’s immune system. Here in the South, year round flea control is of utmost importance, especially in those animals with sensitive skin.
The second largest culprit for itchy skin? Allergies. Food and environmental allergies, sometimes both, coupled with a flea allergy which is very common in animals allergic to other things, can make a pet absolutely MISERABLE.
Mange is another common cause of itchy skin, and most people are frightened when that word is mentioned in the exam room. Never fear! Back in the day, a diagnosis of “red mange” was a death sentence, but now there are numerous treatment options and a very high success rate.
Ringworm is a fungus, not a worm, and it’s a skin disease we can share with our pets and our pets can share with us. Dogs are usually blamed for outbreaks of ringworm, but interestingly enough, when dogs and people are infected with ringworm, the one who gave it to them was likely another human, or an asymptomatic cat!
The list can go on and on, but Zoetis’s (and ours) main agenda is to inform pet parents that there are things we can do about the dreaded itchies. Medicine and treatments have come such a long way in modern times, and no one, human or animal, should have to lose sleep (literally, awake all night scratching or hearing something scratching) over it.
Here’s more info and an itchy quiz!