Baum discusses treatments
for Diego with owners Stephanie and
Suzanna Garcia (off-camera, right)
"Doc, my dog's got dry
skin. Can you help him?"
It's a question that I
am asked very often in the course of practice, but as for an
affliction, itís actually a rare occurrence indeed.
Most people are quite
surprised to learn that the white flakes that they see on their
pets' coat are more likely to be associated with excessive oiliness.
Simply taking the opportunity to run your hand through the coat will
reveal the presence of oils on your fingertips. Often you will
detect an unpleasant odor that is associated with this type of skin
Skin grows from its
underside; an area called the dermis. As new cells are made in the
dermis, they push their way upward. As they rise, the cells flatten
out, and, by the time they reach the epidermis, they have been
totally compressed. To make room for the new cells, the cells that
rest on the surface begin to peel off. Because the cells are so
small we can't see them, but when the process is accelerated, groups
of cells fall off. It is these groups of cells that we see as
flakes!! The process of flaking should almost always be associated
with an irritated skin.
At the same time, the
oil glands in the skin respond to the same irritation by producing
more oil. Bacteria living on the skin utilize this oil as food, and
the resultant waste products that are given off result in the all
too familiar body odor. Bathing will temporarily remove the bacteria
and their odors, but if the underlying cause of skin irritation is
not addressed, the oil will reappear, the bacteria will repopulate
and the odor will return.
Due to the efforts of
the manufacturers of dog and cat foods, fatty acid deficiency is a
thing of the past. Any of the major brands of pet food found in the
markets will provide more than adequate nutrition.
An additional word
about flea shampoos. These products are simply shampoos that have
had an insecticide added into the basic formula. They are affective
in both cleaning the coat and skin as well as killing any fleas that
might be on your pet. There is no residual repellant effect because
in the process of rinsing all the remnants of the shampoo are
flushed away. Excellent products now exist that make flea control
effective and convenient to do. The best products are available
through your veterinarian.
The causes of skin
irritation can vary. Allergies, infections (bacterial and fungal),
hormonal disturbances as well as contact with irritating substances
can all cause the skin to react. Consult with your local
veterinarian for the advice that will benefit your pet.
Oh, my aching back. What went wrong?
Oh, my aching back!