Protecting against parasitic threats to your dog’s skin health and well-being

Skin problems are extremely common among our canine friends. Like us, dogs, too, may have many potential “sources” of itchy, red, and inflamed skin — from irritating substances to food allergies. Additionally, your best pup may be suffering from external parasites

Our talented veterinarians and staff at Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital in Riverview, Florida, proactively rule out and zero in on the causes of your pet’s distressing behaviors and symptoms. 

With accurate diagnoses, we can effectively and quickly prevent potential damage to the skin (and secondary infections). Furthermore, if parasites are to blame, we can advise on prevention and good habits to protect against these nasties. 

We have isolated a few of the most common parasitic threats to your dog’s skin health and well-being. 

Flea bites 

Our professional groomers may be on the “front lines” of detecting potential flea infestations. Initially, flea droppings may be noticeable on your dog’s fur or coat. These droppings are often called “flea dirt” because they appear as dark, black specks on the skin and in the hair strands. You may not think anything is amiss until the flea population has multiplied. At this point, your pet may exhibit: 

  • Signs of discomfort
  • Mild patches of redness 
  • Severe scratching 
  • Open sores 
  • Skin infections and “hot spots” (due to scratching)
  • Hair loss

Protecting, treating, and controlling as needed is vital because infestations can lead to anemia as these critters feast on your pup’s blood. Dogs and other pets may be vulnerable to flea allergies, which cause more severe inflammation and itching. We can advise on ways to reduce the flea population and recommend appropriate flea preventives and control based on your pet’s needs. 

We can also discuss medications and other products to ease the discomfort in the short term and to prevent secondary complications from flea outbreaks. 

Tick troubles 

Six types of ticks are present in Florida, and they can threaten both the human and pet populations. Most commonly among dogs, ticks may be found along their neck, in their ears and folds (between the legs and body), as well as on the paws. Ticks are easily seen and felt. It’s estimated that adult female ticks may ingest 100 times their weight in blood while feasting on their larger hosts (like dogs or us!). 

Since there is a definitive anemia risk and ticks can spread serious diseases (like Lyme), a rule of thumb is to protect with suitable preventives. We can discuss your options. We also encourage owners to always check for ticks, especially when out in tick-prone areas. There are techniques to properly remove ticks from your pet’s skin before they feast and cause irritation – or worse. 

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How to fight mites

Be on the lookout for signs of intense irritation; for instance, excessively shaking the head or scratching at the ears can indicate ear mites. These parasites can enter the ear canal, where they cause such irritation that scratching may lead to bleeding, open sores, or even damage to the blood vessels in the earflaps. 

Other signs that your pet may need a thorough cleaning or medication for ear mites include brownish-black discharge and secondary bacterial or yeast infections. We can confirm the presence of these pests with our onsite testing. 

Additionally, other types of mites can infect your pet. They include: 

  • Sarcoptic mange mites, which spread easily by way of contact with contaminated bedding, grooming tools, and other supplies, and may be manifested as general hair loss, rashes, and crusting 
  • Demodectic mange mites (Demodex), which are typically passed from female dogs to their puppies, and may appear as scaling and redness around the eyes, mouth, legs, and trunk (less commonly, older dogs may exhibit severe redness, hair loss, and thickened skin)

If your pet is suffering from the discomfort of itchy, inflamed, and otherwise damaged skin, trust the expertise of our team in Riverview, Florida. Call (813) 670-8881 to schedule your dog’s appointment at Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital today.

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Meet Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital

Dr. Keshava Eega
Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital

Dr. Keshava Eega moved to the United States in 2003 to further his passion for practicing high-quality and modern veterinary medicine in a challenging environment. Having graduated from the College of Veterinary Science in Hyderabad, India, he then completed his Master’s in Animal Science and the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam in 2006. Dr. Eega then completed his clinical rotations at the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine and subsequently obtained his license to practice Veterinary Medicine in the state of Florida. Dr. Eega possesses thirteen years of experience in corporate practice in Orlando as both an Associate Veterinarian and a Lead Doctor. Through the course of his tenure, he has gained vast and widespread experience and exposure in both the practice of high-quality veterinary medicine and soft tissue surgeries. He also possesses professional interests in preventive care, senior pet care, skin cases, nutrition, behavior and wellness exams, particularly for both cats and dogs. Dr. Eega also possesses Fear Free certification which enables him to rid pets, owners and even veterinary health care teams of fear, stress, and anxiety. Hence, in the hands of Dr. Eega, you can be assured that your pet receives modern, customized care in a comfortable environment!

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