Skin is Your Dog’s Largest Organ, Keep it Healthy!
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves for a deep dive on skin problems in our dogs, how to avoid them, what causes them and how to treat them.
Pro Tip? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In previous episodes, Marty and Laura discuss allergies
and external parasites
, but today’s topic covers hot spots, seasonal alopecia, demodex and other skin disorders.
“The skin, believe it or not, is the largest organ of the body,” Greer noted. “So, it accounts for an important part of our dog's health and it accounts for a huge number of visits. A lot of people have noticed skin problems in their dog. In fact, at some point, almost every dog will have something wrong with their skin during their lifetime. So, the better prepared you are to deal with it, the better off you are.
Hot Spots are a Hot Topic
“Our typical response to a hot spot, as a veterinarian, is to grab the clippers and shave it. And so that makes it a bit of a challenge for us to try and manage these because a hot spot needs to be treated similar to a wildfire out of the forest -- you have to clear cut it. So, you have to clip out around it so that you're an inch or two out around the hotspot into normal skin to effectively stop the spread of it. And so this is where the show dog people totally freak out because that's that's a year’s worth of hair coat. For some dogs that never grows back the same way.
“And this is where having a good veterinary relationship really comes into play. Your veterinarian is gonna be a lot more sympathetic to your needs and expectations if you have developed that relationship.
“It's not that we're unsympathetic to it, it's just that we have to balance what your needs are with the dogs health and so that's where this challenge comes in.
“It's usually (caused by) a break in the skin of some kind, whether it's an insect bite or they ran into the fence or you know, something that just dinged the skin. Allergies. Anything that causes a break in the normal integrity of the skin then allows bacteria to develop. The official name for it is an acute superficial bacterial pyoderma. It's called a hot spot because it is hot, man. I mean, those things can spread … I've seen them double in size in 24 hours if you don't get it addressed.
“You want to keep your dog healthy, their skin healthy. You want to keep them from matting. You want to be careful when you comb them or brush them that you're not breaking the skin. That you reduce their exposure to biting insects because that can initiate it, and if they do have allergies, that you get a handle on those.
“Use your shampoos and conditioners carefully. Dilute your shampoo, rinse, rinse, rinse some more. Don't leave any residue. You know, just be smart about how you're taking care of your dog's coat because if the coat is important to you, then treat it as if it's important to you.”
Listen to the full episode to learn more on the topic of skin disorders.