Home Features Pet Care: MISCELLANEOUS SKIN CONDITIONS IN COMPANION ANIMALS
Let us look at some skin aliments that, over the years, have remained as a scourge to our companion animals with varying intensity and incidence.
As the name suggests this ailment emerges – usually in our heavier breeds with short hair coats (e.g., Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Pit Bulls, Boxers, etc.) – as these weighty pets are forced to lie on hard surfaces. Usually, the sores are actually calluses (hardened parts of the skin, especially in those areas that covers, for example, the bony protuberances of the elbow and the sides of the legs). The constant friction between the skin and the hard surface (in hardwood kennel or concreted floors) results in thickened hairless skin in the area of their bony pressure points.
Ultimately, the friction damages the skin to such an extent that it actually breaks down, forming the wet sore.
As all practicing companion animal veterinarians know, this pressure sore problem is difficult to treat, not lastly because the caregiver is confronted with the problem of functionally and successfully removing the cause. The treatment calls for the provision of a soft surface which the animal needs to lie on continuously and as often as possible. Notwithstanding the obvious difficulty, the caregiver has no choice but to provide the dog with a soft surface on which the animal (dog) can sleep. In so doing, the pressure is reduced and distributed over a greater surface area.
I always advise clients to use a soft synthetic sponge/foam rubber pads or padded beddings. Of course, once the thickened skin is infected, antibiotics may be introduced, after firstly cleansing the area with a gentle antiseptic. Your vet will advise the caregiver relative to the choice and dosage and frequency of the chosen therapeutic intervention, and the preferable method (orally, topically or via injection) of delivery of the medication.
Since we do not have many Collies (Scottish Sheepdogs) in the Caribbean – with temperatures and humidity levels not suited for this breed – we do not encounter this problem too often. However, a similar condition does arise in dogs whose nose bridges have white hair (void of pigment) or no hair, and are exposed to the sun.
Actually, the correct name for “Collie Nose” is “Nasal Solar Dermatitis”. This hypersensitivity to sunlight (without protection) produces oozing serum and then crusts are formed on the nose. [Most scientists believe that a genetic (hereditary) predisposition is involved]. If treatment is not administered quickly, skin ulcers will emerge.
Well, obviously, the first step is to take the animal out of the sun. Tying an animal to a stake and leaving it subjected to the sun’s rays (besides being illegal) will only exacerbate the problem. A good idea is to let the dog out in the night, while keeping the animal in the house during the day.
In terms of creams/ lotions, I have had over the years, some success with a concoction (mixture) of Aloe extract, plus coca butter, plus Yellow Sulphur powder, plus steroidal anti-inflammatory cream – all ingredients can be bought over the counter.
I should mention in passing that one of my (skin specialist) gurus had boasted great positive results from tattooing the nose bridge with a dark dye. For me, that method was always too messy to be instituted. That would be a last resort – after all other curative interventions fail.
Practicing all over the world, I have encountered this problem. Most of all, the research done on this skin ailment has not been able to ascertain the cause.
Acanthosis nigricans can be seen as thickened black skin in the armpits and in the folds in the groin area (depression between the underbelly and thigh).I can only relate to where (on the dog) this skin discoloration is usually found, and what it looks like.
As the disease progresses an extreme dark pigmentation and the development of a greasy rancid discharge on the surface of the skin, occurs. Bacterial infection is common. Eventually the process may extend over a considerable area, covering the brisket and extending onto and around the legs. This disease causes considerable distress to the dog and his owner.
There is no available cure, but with continuous management the dog can be kept comfortable. Keep the skin surface clean with an antiseborrheic shampoo (Seleen) to remove excess oil and bacteria. Cortisone preparations aid in controlling the skin irritation. Weight reduction, to reduce friction in the skin folds, is advisable. Antibiotics are prescribed when the skin is infected.
This condition should be treated by your veterinarian.
Enjoy your week!