kennel

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.

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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!

Divide and Conquer Veterinary Bills

Protecting your pet with vaccines and preventatives is a big part of ensuring their safety and well being.  Bringing Fido in for rabies, distemper/parvo/parainfluenza/adenovirus, leptospirosis, bordetella, canine influenza, a stool sample, heartworm test, heartworm preventative, and flea/tick preventative can be a valuable yet pricey trip.  We understand that sometimes that chunk of change isn’t lying under the cushions your furry friend sleeps on, but fortunately we have a couple of tips to help split that cost and also save in the long run![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Step One

Opt for Proheart as your pet’s heartworm preventative.  This preventative option is unique in the fact that it is administered as a six month injection instead of a monthly pill/topical treatment.  Going with Proheart provides the benefit of avoiding missed or late dosing of your pet’s heartworm preventative so long as you come back in time for the next injection (side note: we will call and remind you).  We are all busy, late dosing on a preventative leaves your pet at risk, and trust us, mosquitoes don’t play the waiting game when it comes to biting us or our pets.

Step 2

Selecting Proheart has provided another benefit for your wallet.  You can choose to split your vaccinations and administer bordetella as well as the canine influenza during the second of the biyearly preventative injections.  You can even choose to split the cost of your flea and tick preventatives to purchase 6 months at a time to further disperse payment into smaller biyearly amounts.  If you really plan it out, you can perform the yearly stool sample at this time as well to get as close to even amounts as possible!  Keep in mind also, that because you have chosen Proheart, you pay NOTHING for your pet’s heartworm test (a $40 savings).

Step Awesome

With our new loyalty program, you can choose to use your rewards for being a client of ours during your second visit.  You can redeem a FREE nail trim at this time or even choose to save your points for something like a FREE examination or 15% off an entire invoice!

Choosing this option also has the benefit of putting your pet in front of one of our amazing doctors more often which is great for health maintenance!

Dunlap Boarding (A Kennel Assistant’s Day)

BEEP BEEP BEEP….yep, that’s the alarm. Six a.m. seems to come way too early! Wasn’t it just roughly 12 hours ago that I was dragging through the door exhausted from the previous day?! My ears have barely stopped ringing from the 40 plus dogs barking at the same time, and my knees tell me not to kneel EVER again! A quick look outside tells me it’s going to be one of those days…90 degrees with 75% humidity does not make for pleasant outdoor activity walking dogs. If only there were a sprinkler I could run through…

Driving up to the parking lot I brace myself…there is no telling what I will walk into! The smell of doggy pee on the hot asphalt assaults my delicate nostrils and reminds me that I must hose down the walkway at some point in the day.

All clocked in! Good mornings all around, a little chit chat about the day and off we go to our respective kennel rooms. Oh…that’s not going to be fun to clean up…oooh, that either!!

Did I mention today is Monday and there are 27 baths due this morning? Busy, busy, busy.

A quick stop to try once again to make that little chihuahua like me….he’s not interested. Maybe later..

10:30 rolls around, finally a breather! I think I’ll stop by the surgery area to see what is going on and then creep on over to spy on the little kittens that are climbing all over the cage…so darn cute!(insert kitten pic) A short walk with the dogs before lunch and…whoa! Did that pile of dog poo just move?! Nope, just a snake sunning itself! (insert snake picture) Thankfully dog was not aware and we carry on.

The afternoon usually goes off without a hitch. Between walks and play times, we are able to leisurely hang out and enjoy the times we spend with all of the animals.

Preparations for tomorrow…files in order, toenail trims…FYI, a nervous dog getting a toenail trim can express anal glands at will…and they have pretty good aim, I can attest to that!

Animals are fed, meds are given and end of the day routine comes to a close. A quick walk through the kennel rooms finds the dogs and cats and the occasional bunny or guinea pig, content, quiet and ready to settle in for the night.

We, as kennel assistants love our jobs! You can have the worst day ever and one face lick or crazy wag of a tail when you walk in the room, the smell of puppy breath or the pleasant meow telling you that you have time for ONE more cuddle, makes it all worth it. You all know YOU enjoy your pets…please know that WE enjoy them as well! We will always do our very best to treat them as you do; with love and plenty of affection!

Oh, and the PEOPLE we work with aren’t too bad either (wink wink)!

Your Dunlap kennel staff