What is Veterinary Dermatology?
Veterinary Dermatology is a specialty in the Veterinary field, as well as in human medicine. Dermatology represents the branch of medicine that deals with the largest organ in the body, the skin. Just like humans, our pets can be bothered by itchiness, skin conditions, and irritants in the environment.
When a pet’s skin has failed to respond to general treatment, a trip to the veterinary dermatologist is recommended! In veterinary dermatology, you will learn of the many skin conditions that can affect our pets and vast options of treatment. Veterinary dermatology is a growing field that is evolving day by day, and an incredible avenue to explore.
We compiled a list of several terms that are used most often in veterinary dermatology. It can be helpful for vet students, vet techs, vet professionals, as well as for non-professionals and pet owners.
A List of Veterinary Dermatology Terms:
- Abscess: This is a subcutaneous collection of pus.
- Alopecia: Refers to partial or complete hair loss.
- Atopy: An allergic skin disease caused by environmental antigens.
- Cyst: An epithelium-lined cavity containing fluid or solid material.
- Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin characterized by redness or itchiness.
- Epithelium: The outer layer of the skin.
- Hyperkeratosis: Hypertrophy of the horny layer of the epidermis.
- Otitis: Inflammation or infection of the ear.
- Pododermatitis: Inflammation of the skin on the paws, causing paw licking and redness between the toes.
- Pruritis: Itchiness of the skin.
- Pustule: Elevated area of the skin filled with purulent material.
- Pyoderma: An infection of the skin that produces pustules and flakey areas.
- Seborrhea: Flakey skin that has been greasy or dry, due to an underlying irritation or skin disease.
What Are Some of The Common Skin Conditions in Pets?
- Fleas and other External Parasites (e.g. ticks, mange)
- Crusty Skin or Scales (e.g. pityriasis versicolor)
- Insect Bites and Stings (e.g. bee, wasp, spider)
- Sprains and Strains (e.g. elbow, hip)
- Skin Infections (e.g. abscesses, dermatophytosis, furunculosis)
- Mosquito Bites
- Prickly Heat
Causes of Skin Disorders in Pets
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs on our blog, and learn about some of the more dangerous lumps and bumps that could be hiding on your pet’s skin.
Skin disorders are a common concern for pet owners, and pet dermatologists often prescribe treatment for their patients. It also includes detailed advice for avoiding certain disorders.
The health of the skin affects the overall health and lifespan of an animal. Skin problems can be simple and treatable, or serious and life-threatening—it is best for owners to know how to recognize both so that they are able to deal with any problems quickly.
Some skin disorders are self-limiting, and can be treated at home. Others may require a visit to the veterinarian. Nonetheless, the owner will often need to know how to best deal with both types of problem in order to help their pet.
If owners are unable to recognize an early stage of skin disease, it can result in serious long-term problems for their pets and is frequently costly and frustrating for all involved.
As pets age, skin conditions become more common. For example, in 2011 skin disorders affecting up to 21% of dogs over five years of age and 8% of cats over five years. These are higher than the rates reported in 2010 and 2009, when they were 9% and 3%, respectively.
The most common skin disorders encountered in dogs are flea allergy dermatitis (26%), lichen sclerosis (17%), rosacea (15%), lipomas (14%), and pruritus (11%). In cats, the most common skin disorders are flea allergy dermatitis (51%), sebaceous adenitis (13%), and seborrhea (10%).
Although many skin diseases are uncomfortable for the animal, others can be fatal if not treated early. For example, approximately 30% of dogs and cats suffer from pyoderma, a bacterial infection of the skin; approximately 10% of dogs and 5% of cats suffer from pemphigus foliaceus, a rare autoimmune disease.