The skin is a pet’s natural barrier to the outside world. As one of the body’s largest organs, the skin plays many vital functions to keep pets healthy. It protects the underlying internal organs, bones and muscles, provides sensory information, and acts as part of the immune system to guard against pathogens and external threats to health and safety. As part of the skin, fur also acts as a barrier and protects the skin, maintains body temperature, and contributes to the esthetic appeal of pets.
What is a “Lick Lesion”?
When dogs lick over and over at the same spot they eventually cause sores that veterinarians refer to as “acral lick dermatitis” or an “acral pruritic nodule”. These are itchy, thickened, centrally ulcerated or “raw” areas of skin, typically on the legs and forepaws, caused by excessive licking and complicated by bacterial infection and scarring.
Many of us have seen “bad skin” come through our shop at one time or another and have been frustrated by the lack of improvement. I interviewed seven veterinarians and asked them about the most common skin issues they see. The unanimous answer was secondary bacterial infections resulting from scratching. They also stated that 95% of all visits for allergies were merely extremely dry skin.
Ringworm is one of the most over and under diagnosed conditions in veterinary dermatology. Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is a fungal infection of the hair, superficial skin, and occasionally nails. Contrary to the common name for dermatophytosis, “ringworm,” it is not a parasite and worms are not the problem!