The most common reason that dog owners take their dog to the vet is because of itchiness. Dogs love to scratch and scratch their itch with their paws, even repeatedly licking and gnawing at whatever body part.
To fix the problem of itchiness, a vet would go through the following procedures and recommendations in order to find the root of the problem:
1. Ask you the dog’s history. Veterinarians will start by asking some questions to have an idea on the history of the dog’s itching problem. When did you first notice the itching? Has it changed? How has your pet been otherwise? What do you normally do to take care of your pet’s skin? What medications or products do you use?
2. Give the dog a physical examination. Giving the whole body, not just the skin, a thorough look is a crucial part of the process. When examining the skin itself, your veterinarian will check for the presence of lesions. Aside from that, the vet will also check for bald areas, rashes, redness, pustules, scratches, etc.) and evidence of external parasites.
3. Scrape the skin. Scraping the very surface of the skin with a metal scalpel blade and examining the cells under a microscope can help your veterinarian determine whether mites or other allergens might be living just beneath the surface of the skin.
4. Get an impression smear. Examining collections of cells and debris found on the surface of the skin or within a lesion is another basic step that vets will do for your dog. Evaluating the sample under a microscope can tell your veterinarian whether microscopic parasites and/or bacteria and yeast are involved in the itchiness. This tells your veterinarian what kind of bacteria live there and which antibiotic will best defeat it.
5. Conduct a biopsy. Sometimes the vet will decide to obtain a small sample of skin tissue and submit it to a diagnostic laboratory to determine its condition before definitive treatment can be initiated.
6. Initiate food trials. If your vet suspects your pet may have a food allergy, a food trial may be recommended. Eliminating all but a few ingredients in a pet’s diet for a period of time can help isolate which proteins a pet may be allergic to.
7. Allergy testing. Your vet may also recommend an allergy test. Sophisticated skin or blood testing can help determine which allergens a pet might be reacting to.
8. Fungal culture. When your vet suspects of a fungus, the affected hairs can be sampled for culture testing.
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