Allergies & Skin Conditions

Pets can be afflicted by a variety of skin conditions that can cause irritation, infection, itching and scratching. If you start to see any hair loss on your pet, please come see us so we can help before it becomes a widespread and potentially infectious problem. We can help prevent and/or treat nearly all skin conditions that affect your pet, including:

Fleas: Florida is a hot bed for fleas that can carry a bevy of parasites & diseases such as  Bartonella henselae (cat scratch fever), murine typhus, and tapeworms. While fleas can sometimes be difficult to see, if you see something that looks like a grain of rice in your pets’ feces or around their back end or bedding, it is likely tapeworms. If they have tapeworms, they have fleas. We tailor flea control to each of our patients and provide education and recommendations to keep them flea free. We can also advise you on how to treat your pets’ environment and provide tapeworm treatment so your pet doesn’t suffer more serious effects of tapeworms such as poor hair coat or weight loss.

Identifying different species of ticksTicks: Five different types of ticks can be found in Florida and others can be contracted while traveling. In Florida, the Brown Dog Tick, the American Dog Tick, the Lone Star Tick, the Gulf Coast Tick and the Black-legged tick can be found during varying times of year. These ticks can carry a number of diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rickettsia parkeri, STARI, and Lyme Disease. Please be sure your pet is protected against these diseases by keeping ticks off your pets. We tailor tick control to each of our patients and provide education and recommendations to keep them tick free.

The University of Florida Extension Service has some very good information on ticks and tick-borne diseases in Florida. You can visit their website for more information. You can also see a map of the incidence of vector-borne diseases in your area by visiting this website.

Allergic Dermatitis: Just like people, pets can be allergic to several things including food, their environment, pollen and insect bites. They will often scratch or have reddened areas on their paws, abdomen, ears or other sensitive areas. When we see a pet with suspected allergies, we will typically take a small sample from the lesion and test it to make sure it’s not an infection. Depending on the case, we may also recommend changing to a non-allergenic food or prescribe topical or oral treatments to manage the condition. There are some wonderful new medications that we’ve found have worked very well in most pets. If your pet is not responsive to these therapies, we may recommend allergy testing. An allergy test is a procedure we can do at Family Pet Hospital. Once we identify the culprits we can recommend a treatment plan to make your pet more comfortable and help control their allergies. For more information, visit this site.

Ringworm: Unlike what the name may imply, this is actually caused by a fungus not a worm. It typically causes a reddened circular lesion but can simply present as hair loss as seen on the cat in this picture. Ringworm can be easily transmitted to other pets and people, so if you see any hair loss on your pet, please contact us to set an appointment as soon as possible.

Dog with ringwormCat with ringworm

Mange: There are two types of mange typically seen in dogs. Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, can be easily transmitted to dogs and can infect people. It causes intense itching, can lead to widespread hair loss and the scratching can lead to secondary bacterial infections. Demodex or demodectic mange typically causes smaller patches of hair loss that can spread to larger areas, potentially causing swelling and irritation in between your pet’s toes.