The 7 Most Common Skin Problems You’ll See as a Groomer
Not every animal you groom will be a picture of perfection; more often than not, you will handle animals with skin issues. In some cases, you may even be the one to discover these issues. Not only may it alter your grooming technique, but it means that you need to speak with the pet’s owner, too.
Talking to your clients about their furbabies’ health can be challenging, but one thing you can do to make it easier is to be educated on the most common skin issues. While you are not a vet, you are a reliable source of information. You can give your clients your educated opinion and then refer them to their vet for proper diagnosis.
The 7 Most Common Animal Skin Problems
Serious skin diseases can be triggered by flea allergies and sensitivities. Flea allergies can be quite severe, even if fleas are not present on the animal. An animal that is very itchy and has bite marks or scratches on them may be dealing with fleas. You may also find small black or reddish-brown specks on the pet’s body, known as flea dirt. The animal may have pale gums, a common sign of anemia, which can be an indication it has a serious case of flea infestation. An animal with hair loss, or alopecia, can be showing a reaction to flea bites. Dogs or cats may also pull out some of their own hair due to the continuous biting or licking of the flea bite areas. Flea bite hypersensitivity can cause rashes or lesions anywhere on the body - not just at the site of a bite.
Typically a circular, crusty, bald patch of skin, ringworm is a fungal problem that needs proper treatment. It is highly contagious to humans and other animals and needs medicated shampoo or oral medications. Depending on your business, you may provide these medicated shampoos, or you can inform your clients of the best place to find them.
Some species of mites are found in the skin and hair follicles. Mange is a skin disease caused by several different species of mites. Mite infections can occur all year, even the winter. The signs of a mite infection depend on which mite is present and skin lesions can occur anywhere on the body. Demodectic mange tends to cause hair loss, bald spots and sores. Sarcoptic mange causes intense itch with hair loss, reddened skins and sores.
Yeast is commonly found in the ear canal, between the toes, and around the anus of an animal. Animals with floppy ears are most at risk, but all can be affected. Yeast infections cause itchy skin and hair loss, reddened areas, and thickening of the skin. Skin lesions are usually accompanied by an awful smell. Yeast is a fungus infection and is treated with ear ointments and medicated shampoos. Again, you may provide these options or you may refer your clients to their vet for medications.
Animals with food allergies usually have very itchy skin on the face, feet, ears, and around the anus. Contact with environmental allergens such as pollens, grass, or dust mites cause intense itching of the face, feet, ears, chest, and tummy. Your clients may have to go through an elimination diet to figure out what is causing the irritation, and a natural-minded vet may be of value.
Bacterial Skin Infections
Bacterial skin infections are often a complication from another allergy. They can occur when the animal scratches and breaks the skin allowing bacteria to infect the wound.
Dandruff is usually caused by dry skin or skin irritation. More often than not, the quality of food being eaten can be the problem.