Living with an itchy pet can be very frustrating and distressing to both you and your pet. Itchiness will cause your cat or dog to excessively scratch, chew or lick their body which can result in self harm allowing wounds and infections. There are many reasons why pets itch but the three most common causes are Ear Infections, External Parasites or Allergies.
Ear Infections (Otitis Externa)
Ear infections, also referred to as Otitis Externa are a common problem seen amongst our furry friends, especially those with long ears. Ear infections can cause extreme discomfort and further health problems if left untreated.
The most common causes of ear infections include:
- Ear mites
- Foreign Materials
- Trapped Moisture
- Excessive Ear Wax
- Unknown Growths/Causes
Symptoms of an Ear Infection:
- Ears can look red and inflamed; and a black/brown or yellowish discharge may be seen
- Has a strong ‘doggy’ odour
- Constant ear scratching, shaking of the head
- Swelling around the ear
- Whimpering due to discomfort
- Hearing loss
- Walking in circles or head tilting
Ears are very sensitive, if you feel there is a problem please contact Townsville Vet Clinic and one of our Vets diagnose the cause of the problem and provide the very best treatment and home care plan with the appropriate medication or ear cleaner if needed.
Fleas, Ticks, Mozzies and Skin Mites. These can cause extreme itching in your pets and need to be ruled out first, before we look into any other cause of itching.
Fleas are not only an irritation but in some cases, some pets are allergic to them.
Mozzies are a regular part of life in North Queensland. Some cats and dogs are uniquely allergic to their bite.
Ticks in the Townsville region tend to be the brown dog tick, kangaroo tick or cattle tick. It is less common for us to see the paralysis tick.
Skin Mites in dogs are usually referred to as Mange. Mange can be caused by Sarcoptes or demadex, both mites that need to be identified by skin scrapings.
Fleas – As discussed earlier, an allergy to fleas is a common skin condition in dogs and cats. You may not see fleas, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Food Allergies – Allergies to different foods can cause dogs to be itchy and have skin rashes. Food allergies are most commonly caused by one specific protein or carbohydrate source in the pet’s food, such as beef, chicken, lamb, wheat or soy.
Contact Allergies – Dogs may have contact allergies to vegetation e.g. grass, plants, plastic and other materials ( leads/ collars/ food bowls) and even house hold products e.g. carpet cleaners, washing detergent.
Atopic Dermatitis – This condition in affects pets that have allergic skin reactions to many common substances such as pollens, grasses, house dust mites or mould spores.