5 Reasons Your Pet is Itching and Scratching

One of the most common calls we get this time of year is that of Mr. Itchy’s owner.

“I can’t even sleep at night Mr. Itchy is digging at his skin so badly, what do I do!”

or Miss Scratchy’s owner:

“She is starting to lose hair from all this scratching she is doing!”

Trust us, you are not alone!  There are several reasons your dog or cat might be itching.  The bottom line is: Don’t let them suffer!  There is a diagnosis to be made and a proper treatment plan can be applied to Mr. Itchy and Miss Scratchy’s situations.

The aforementioned calls often refer to fairly serious cases of pruritis.  While some pets (similarly to humans) are able to trot through fields, dig in the dirt, and tumble through the grass with no problems, other fur friends can stay indoors, be fed an excellent diet and still have severe skin disorders.

So let’s filter through some reasons for pet scratch fever:single_image image=”4525″ img_size=”large”]

You know that green stuff in our front and back lawn?  That stuff sticking up out of the ground called grass?  Some pet’s are sensitive to even the simplest of it.  By speaking with on of our veterinarians and determining what your pet is exposed to that may be causing a reaction, we can take develop a plan for your pet depending on the severity of his/her sensitivity.

Another example is moist eczema often referred to as a “hot spot.”  These skin lesions are often the result of moisture on the skin’s surface from rain or pond activities.  Some cases of moist eczema spread very quickly and require aggressive therapy to correct.

Even contact with plastics can cause environmental dermatitis.

For each of these issues, there is a treatment plan to resolve/subdue the flare ups.vc_single_image image=”4526″ img_size=”large”]

Food can easily be the culprit behind your pet’s awful skin sensations.

“Complete and Balanced,” does not always mean complete and balanced.

Unfortunately, many canines and felines live their entire lives in less than optimal health because owners choose the least expensive pet food they can get their hands on.  Spending a bit extra on a high quality diet can have an immense impact on your pets skin (and health in general).  We carry several diets that can help remedy skin issues.

Oftentimes a food trial can help determine if food is the reason behind your pet’s skin issues.  Keep in mind we even carry hypoallergenic diets if your pet is particularly sensitive to foods.  These trials do take several weeks to know whether or not the change is helping, but can be completely worth it to your pet should the skin issues stop.

Adding in Omega Fatty Acids to your pet’s diets can provide additional help for your pet’s skin while assisting in maintaining a quality coat at the same time.

Fleas and ticks along with other creepy crawlies can easily be the cause of itching as well, especially if prevention is not applied to the scratchy pet. Repeated exposure to fleas can cause a hypersensitivity (excessive reaction) to even just a single flea bite.  There are a number of highly effective preventatives available to Peoria pets that will keep these little parasites at bay.

Interestingly, tick bites often do not cause itching, however can leave ulcerative lesions on your pet’s skin that can be extremely slow to heal.

Cheyletiella, sarcoptic, and demodex (mange) mites can also be the cause of horrible skin issues for your pet (and some can even cause issues for humans).

Chiggers, deer flies, and gnats are generally considered nuisances and rarely cause systemic issues with your pet’s skin.  Treatment for bites from these with first aid ointments are generally successful.

Our veterinarians can exam your pets skin closely and see if little parasites are the problem when it comes to your pet’s skin.

Bacterial, fungal, and yeast organisms are obnoxious pathogens notorious for causing problems with pet’s skin and coats.  Fungal organisms are known as dermatophytes.  One specific dermatophyte (Microsporum canis) causes circular patches of hairloss often known as ringworm.

Yeast infections are also prevalent in our pets.  The ears of your pet are a prime breeding ground for developing a yeast infection known as otitis externa.  There are treatment options for your pet if the ears seem to be red and inflammed and have a less than desirable scent.

Another common skin issue in our pets is infectious dermatitis.  This condition is so irritating to our pets that they will continuously lick/chew at the infected area preventing any healing from taking place.  This infection can spread and even be transported to different areas of your pet due to the licking and chewing.  Our doctors can clip the hair around the affected areas, treat with ointments and also send you with cone to prevent further damage that your pet can’t help but cause.

This cause of skin issues may be the most difficult to diagnose and treat.  If all the previous issues are tested and checked for to no avail, it may just be the pet itself causing the skin issues with no help from any parasites, infections, allergies, etc.

The common forms of this are acral lick dermatitis, lick granuloma, or canine neurodermatitis.  These can occur when “something,” causes your pet to lick at an area.  This “something,” can be boredom, separation anxiety, or prolonged confinement.  Additionally it may even be a minor cut or scrape that has caught the pets attention that they simply won’t leave alone even after it has healed.  At this point the pet will continue to abuse the area and skin is never allowed to heal.

In felines, psychogenic alopecia can become an issue where your cat will over groom and is usually caused by stress such as a move or introduction of something new to a home.  Again this is diagnosed if no other medical reason behind the over grooming is present.

A behaviorist may be your pet’s best friend in these situations if you can simply not find a way to distract your pet from licking/chewing it’s skin.

Our doctors and staff are here to help figure out what is causing these issues for your pet.  If the itching and scratching is driving you crazy, it assuredly is uncomfortable for your pet.  Contact any of our locations (Dunlap, Peoria, Chillicothe) to schedule your visit and help solve the skin dilemma!

2016 Veterinary Recap

While the rest of the world seems to be marking 2016 as the worst year in recent memory, last year brought our 3 clinics an immense amount of excitement.  To start, we began providing cancer care by bringing in 2 Certified Veterinary Oncologists to the Peoria Area.  Our clients, as well as referred clients in the Central Illinois Area can now take advantage of our newest service.  Since opening our doors to pets in need of cancer care and guidance, we have consulted with 42 different pet owners.  The service is starting to grab hold with recent local highlights from the PJStar and CIProud.  We couldn’t be more excited to provide this much needed service for our community’s pets.

Another new service introduced was laser therapy at all three of our locations.  Used for multiple conditions from arthritis to hot spots and much more, we are seeing an increasing amount of owners opt for this quick and pain free way to help their pets.

Thanks to donations and fundraisers for our HALO Fund, we were able to help pets in dire straights by providing over $4,800 worth of life saving treatments.

We also instituted a new client feedback program that we have seen amazing results from, continued to support local schools and area causes, reworked our referral reward program for even better rewards for our referring clients, and retooled our online store for owner ease of use.

There were so many amazing changes in 2016 that is impossible to highlight them all, however most importantly we continued to explore new options for pet health and hone our skills doing what we do best.  That is to ensure each pet that enters our door receives superior patient care, and each pet owner we have the pleasure of meeting receives top tier service.

We want to thank each and every one of our clients for making 2016 a year to remember, and we want to promise each of you that we will continue passionately providing top tier Veterinary Medicine and Services for your pet in 2017 and beyond!

To really close out 2016 with a bang here are some interesting and some quirky statistics from 2K16:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • Heartworm Positive Diagnoses

After rebounding from a sad 2012, the number of Heartworm Disease diagnoses dropped ever so slightly for the first time since 2013.  Each of these cases could have been prevented by administering monthly preventatives year round.  We even have a 6 month preventative injection if you find yourself forgetting each month.  Let’s try to drop this number into single digits in 2017!

In 2016 alone, 238 pets were diagnosed as having fleas.  There are also monthly preventatives to keep your little friend from having even smaller friends.  Trust us, you will be thankful for year round prevention when you aren’t napping next to a flea infested canine or feline!  We saw a huge amount of cases during the fall and into the winter as many owners discontinued their preventatives which proved to be a troublesome mistake for many area pet owners.

Top Dog Breeds Seen in 2016

Labrador Retriever 846 seen
Shih tzu 296 seen
Yorkie 279 seen

Top Names of Pets Seen

1. Bella

2. Max

3. Sadie

4. Lucy

5. Buddy

Leaves on the Ground and Ticks on the Pet

by: Vicki Schroeder

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Is Your Dog At Risk?


  • Does your dog live in a suburban home next to wildlife areas?
  • Is your dog’s yard surrounded by tall brush?
  • Do you take your dog walking, hiking, or on camping or fishing trips in      wooded areas?
  • Does your dog frequent areas with a high deer population?

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. A spirochete is a type of bacterium. When a tick carrying Lyme disease bites a dog, the spirochete will pass through the bloodstream and is carried to many parts of the body, most likely localize in the joints. It was first thought that only a few types of ticks could transmit this disease, but now it appears that several common species may be involved. The most common type of tick to carry Lyme disease is the Deer Tick. Ticks in the Peoria area are most often found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas.

Symptoms of canine Lyme disease include:

  • Lameness in legs
  • Warm joints
  • A stiff walk with an arched back
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Kidney failure

Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to their veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were “walking on eggshells.” Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.

How do I protect my dog from Lyme disease?

Canine Lyme disease is largely preventable through a comprehensive tick-borne disease control program of applying a topical tick repellant monthly, such as Revolution or Parastar Plus, tick checks and vaccination. This vaccine is given twice, at three week intervals, initially. Annual revaccination is necessary to maintain immunity.

How is Lyme disease diagnosed in dogs?

Dogs with lameness, swollen joints, and fever are suspected of having Lyme disease. However, other diseases may also cause these symptoms. At PAVG we will run a antibody blood test if we suspect your pet is suffering from Lyme disease.

How is Lyme Disease Treated?

Because the Lyme spirochete is a bacterium, it can be controlled by antibiotics. A lengthy course of treatment is necessary to completely eradicate the organism.

Call our Peoria, Dunlap, or Chillicothe locations today to learn how we can help keep your pet safe!

Why is Protecting my Pet So Difficult?

“Well… I could give my pet Frontline and Heartgard, but he hates the liquid that goes between his shoulder blades…  Will I remember to do Heartgard every month?  Maybe I should do the injectable Proheart so that I don’t forget to give the prevention each month… But wait, then what should I do for fleas and ticks… Maybe Revolution or Trifexis would be easier?  But then there’s Comfortis, and Nexgard too…”

If even a fraction of the above conversation has taken place in your head or your home, you aren’t alone.  Trust us, prevention is a confusing subject.  One that we deal with each and every day.  You want to make sure your pet is protected, but you don’t know where to start.  We are here for you.

You have enough important questions flooding your mind on a daily basis.  Stop in or call us.  We know about the rebates, and we will even send most of them in for you!  We have buy some get some free deals.  Unexpected expenses this month and can only afford one dose right now?  At least your furry family member will be protected.

Think you are getting the best deal online?  We have a highly competitive online store that is trustworthy.  You shouldn’t have to worry if the place you are ordering from has stored the product you will be giving your pet correctly.  More often than not, with our in-house deals we are cheaper than online pharmacies.  We don’t hike up our prices 20 percent then advertise a 20% OFF SPECIAL THIS WEEK ONLY.


Pet prevention isn’t about playing those pricing games.  You and your furry loved ones deserve a fair shake when it comes to being safe against parasites.  That’s exactly what you get here at PAVG.

Call any of our locations today to find out which of our preventions are going to fit you and your pet’s lifestyle, and your price range.  We are more than happy to present you with your options in a way you can understand.