The skin has many functions, including - providing a protective barrier, regulating water loss and body temperature, and acting as a sensory organ for external input such as touch, temperature, and pain.
The condition of your pet's skin and coat is a good indicator of their overall health. Your pet's skin should be smooth and soft with no lumps, areas of redness or scale. Their coat should be smooth, non-greasy, and matt free and have no obvious areas of fur loss.
The most common causes of skin and coat disease in our pets are allergies. Allergic skin disease can be caused by food, parasites (such as fleas), and/or environmental allergens (such as pollens and grasses).
The condition of your pet’s coat can also tell us about how well they are feeling. Cats in particular will stop grooming and quickly develop an unkempt coat if they are feeling any degree of discomfort. This may indicate they are suffering from issues such as a sore mouth, arthritis, or dehydration.
Unfortunately, a lot of the skin issues we see in our pets are chronic conditions that will get worse if left untreated. It’s important to get your pet assessed by a veterinarian when you notice any of the signs mentioned above. Your veterinarian will help you figure out the underlying cause of these skin issues and can work with you to come up with a management plan to help you prevent future flare-ups.
Dr Christina Booker BVSc