Your skin serves many vital functions. This same truth applies to your pet. As your dog’s or cat’s largest organ, the skin provides a protective barrier. Furthermore, it supports a healthy temperature and sensations of touch, discomfort, heat, and cold. Our veterinarians and staff at Saint John’s Affordable Animal Hospital in St. John's, Florida, take a special interest in dermatology.
Our unique and considerable expertise in preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions of the skin, fur, and nails supports your pets’ best health and overall well-being. Dermatological experience and skill also help to prevent complications or side effects from skin conditions, notably infections.
Infections refer to those conditions that can be passed or transmitted from one animal to the next or even from pets to people (“zoonotic” infections). Infectious dermatological diseases can affect the skin and mucosal lining of the ears and nose and the fur and nails, too. Depending on the type of infection and its severity, this condition may manifest as:
It is critical for us to get to the bottom of the cause of your pet’s distressing changes. There is a wide array of organisms that can infect the skin – from bacteria like Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and fungi like Microsporum and Trichophyton (responsible for “ringworm”) and parasites like sarcoptic mange mites (associated with scabies). Additionally, infections may be characterized as primary or secondary.
The former example refers to those skin conditions and effects primarily caused by infectious organisms, be it a parasite or fungus. The latter example refers to those infections that are caused by another condition. For example, the intense itching that occurs with skin allergies caused by everything from certain foods to plants and grasses can lead to persistent scratching. Without treatment, scratching and biting at the skin can lead to damaged areas of the skin. These sores or areas of damage are rife for bacterial or fungal overgrowth, which can then lead to a serious infection.
We have a full range of advanced diagnostics and testing options to accurately identify the nature of your pet’s skin concerns. Depending on what we find, our team may recommend medicated topical products and shampoos or systemic bacteria-fighting antibiotics (taken by mouth). Additionally, we want to get your dog or cat into healthy habits straight away. These habits include recommendations for effective flea and tick sprays, diet and lifestyle modifications to address allergens or “triggers” in the environment, and regular parasite screening and control. Partnerships with our professional groomers for routine cleaning and trims also go a long way to keep your pet looking and feeling great and healthy.