Skin disease in pets: what home treatments are possible? Podcast from Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

Does your pet have skin or coat problems? If so, a visit to your vet is the best answer, to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem. But what else can you do? This week’s podcast describes some of the home-treatments that can be helpful. Listen by following the link below.

Dog shampoos

  • If you go into any pet shop, you’ll find dozens of brands of shampoos, all claiming to help with skin disease. In my mind, there are five different types of shampoo, each with their own particular role.
  • General gentle shampoos for routine bathing of pets. Animal skin and hair is different to human hair, with a lower pH (i.e. it’s more acidic). This means that human shampoo is not appropriate for animal skin. So if you want to clean your pet’s coat, use a dog or cat shampoo, and choose one that claims to be “gentle”.
  • Shampoos that specifically treat bacterial and yeast infections of the skin: the best of these are only available on prescription from your vet. In many different types of skin disease, it’s common to have secondary bacterial and yeast infections which then contribute to the further deterioration of the condition. By-products of these infections cause itchiness, greasiness and a musty smell ,so it often makes sense to control them using this type of shampoo. You can also get a type of “dry shampoo” which has anti-bacterial and anti-yeast properties: this is a mousse which is massaged into a dog’s coat.
  • The equivalent of human anti-dandruff shampoos: they are very effective at helping with skin conditions where there is excessive scaliness, helping to remove dead skin cells. Examples include those that include sulphur or salicylic acid type ingredients.
  • Follicle flushing shampoos that include an ingredient called benzoyl peroxide are useful for so-called “follicle flushing”: these shampoos help to clean out the hair follicles, which are the narrow cylinders in the skin that hairs sprout from. There are many conditions where the hair follicles become full of debris, and follicle flushing shampoos can help to clear this,
  • Oatmeal shampoos have been found to be effective as a way of soothing itchy skin in a non-specific way, so they are often recommended for any itchy animal.

Questions from pet owners

The following questions about pets were texted in to the radio show by owners. To find out the answers, listen to the podcast.

  • How often should you worm a cat?
  • My twelve year old collie has pancreatitis and is on a drip. What is his prognosis?
  • My border collie gets bald and itchy around his eyes every autumn. The vet always prescribes steroids, but last year at the suggestion of a friend, I used anti-histamines and these seemed to work well. Is it safe to do this?
  • My one year old cat has a pouch of fluid under her tummy, plus fluid around her front legs. I have been told a referral for a work up will cost €1000 or more. Do you have any ideas about what could be wrong?
  • My Mastiff dog has itchy paws. I had him on grain free nuts but they did not help. What could be causing this?
  • What can I do for my dog’s warts?

I also did a Facebook live video which you can watch here.

To listen to the podcast, click on the link below.

Listen to the podcast:

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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