The 5 most common skin diseases in your pet

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Most individuals don’t consider sunburn as an issue with pets as they come with a ‘built-in sunscreen’: their coats. However, this is a dangerous assumption to make, as sun exposure can lead to sunburn, heatstroke, or even skin cancer. This is especially true of pets with white fur, as they tend to have paler skin. You will be able to tell if your pet has sunburn much in the same way you would diagnose yourself: red skin that is tender to the touch. For dogs, this is especially on the bridge of the nose, the tummy, and the ears. Furthermore, their ears might start to become dry and cracked. Please note that although they display in the same way as humans, dogs do not burn as easily as humans, meaning that if they are displaying signs of sunburn, more damage may have occurred than you can see. Treatment of sunburn will depend on the severity of the burn, but will most likely include a daily topical application and wound cleaning. If you suspect your pet has been sunburnt, veterinary care is necessary.

Skin Cancer

The silent killer. Skin cancer is typically caused by sun exposure, and so as with sunburn, animals with pale and short coats are most at risk. The symptoms of this disease can vary, but some of the typical signs include lesions, unusual lumps or bumps on the skin, and scabs. These may be pink, red, black, brown, or grey in colour. If your pet is displaying any of these signs, you should book an appointment with us. The diagnosis for skin cancer would usually include a biopsy, and depending on the outcome of the diagnosis, treatment would usually involve a surgical removal of the tumour and possibly chemotherapy or radiation if we feel that is required.


Your pet can have allergic reactions to anything from their shampoo, to their food. This also includes environmental factors such as pollen and insect bites. An allergic reaction will most likely display in excessive scratching, grooming, sneezing, paw chewing, skin inflammation and watery eyes. In order to diagnose the skin allergy, vets will need a full medical history of your pet and would also need to conduct a full physical exam. The fix might be as simple as changing their food, but it may also require more severe intervention.

Ticks, fleas, mites & mange

These well known critters can make your pet's life a misery. For ticks and fleas, you can most likely diagnose these yourself, and the treatment would most likely include a spot-on solution, flea collar, or anti-flea shampoo. If the infestation is more severe though, medical intervention may be required. Mange is a skin disease caused by parasites, and can sometimes be transferred to humans. Unlike with ticks and fleas, you cannot see the mites that cause mange. However, it is characterised by obvious signs such as severe itching, hair loss, and scabs and lesions forming. A case of mange will most likely require veterinary attention, and may even require isolation. If you suspect your pet has mange, book an appointment with us as soon as possible so we can start sorting it out.

Infections & Warts

Infections are always a cause for medical attention. They usually occur when there is a cut or wound in your pet's skin, and something gets in. Infections can be bacterial, fungal, or parasitic. A visit to the vet will be able to help determine what is causing the infection, and what treatment is required.
Although unsightly, warts are usually not a real cause for concern. However, if the wart starts to change shape or has irregular edges, book an appointment with us, as it may be skin cancer. If you feel the wart on your pet is detracting from their beauty, it can most likely be removed.
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