Early veterinary intervention soothes itchy pets

The ‘Empathy for Itch’ campaign encourages at-home skin and fur checks

Ensuring itchy pets receive the relief they need through early veterinary intervention is the goal of the third annual ‘Empathy for Itch’ campaign. Photo ©BigStockPhoto.comEnsuring itchy pets receive the relief they need through early veterinary intervention is the goal of the third annual ‘Empathy for Itch’ campaign.

This year, the joint initiative from the Canadian Academy of Veterinary Dermatology (CAVD), CEVA Animal Health, Zoetis, and Royal Canin Canada includes the launch of a ‘Pet Check’ list, aimed at empowering owners to perform regular examinations of their pets at home and feel confident knowing what is healthy and what to monitor when it comes to their pet’s skin.

“Being aware of behaviours like excessive scratching or licking, dandruff, staining between the toes from excessive licking, strong odour, ‘scooting,’ and greasy skin can help ensure you’re catching any evidence of skin changes early,” says Veterinary Practice News Canada contributor, Juanita Glencross-Winslow, DVM, a scientific communications specialist with Royal Canin Canada. “Checking your pet for any changes related to their skin is easy to do by making regular skin checks part of your pet’s daily routine.”

Indeed, since dermatological disease in pets may not always be easy to detect, regular at home checks are a great first step for owners to catch problems and schedule veterinary appointments, Royal Canin says. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin.

“With this year’s Empathy for Itch campaign, we wanted to equip pet owners with the tools needed to perform regular checks at home and gain a better understanding of what to look for when examining their pets,” says Meghan Hewitt, trade marketing manager (Veterinary Division) for Royal Canin Canada. “By empowering pet owners to feel in control of their pet’s skin health, we can work to ensure pets receive the required care and have the quality of life they deserve with the support and guidance of their veterinary team.”

The campaign offers the following ‘five spot checks’ veterinarians can share with clients:

1) A pet’s eyes should be clear and bright. Any redness or hair loss around them should be examined by a veterinarian.

2) When looking at a pet’s skin and coat, it should not be red, flaky, dry, or greasy. (Also, look for ticks or use a flea comb to check for fleas.)

3) A pet’s ears should not be red, painful, smelly, or have any discharge. Take note if the pet frequently scratches its ears or rubs its face on the ground or floor.

4) Paws can take a lot of abuse, especially in the winter with extreme cold or ice or in the summer on hot pavement. Check the feet regularly for any redness, pain, or sores.

5) With the exception of Mexican hairless dogs or a Sphinx cats, a pet should be covered in hair. Any ‘naked’ spots warrant a visit to the veterinarian.

Skin health is often overlooked in pets, Royal Canin says, and, when it comes to these conditions, the path to relief is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Dermatologic issues can be caused by many different things, including environmental allergies, allergies to particular components of their diets, trauma, parasites, other diseases, or inappropriate bathing.

For more on the Empathy for Itch campaign, click here.

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