Parsippany, NJ — The itchy pet. It’s one of the most common reasons a pet owner brings their pet in to the veterinary office.
Zoetis designated August as Itchy Pet Awareness Month and launched a website to raise awareness about pet skin health needs and a toolkit for veterinary professionals to use as a conversation-starter with pet owners.
The top four reasons pet owners bring their dogs in for veterinary visits are skin-related issues, including skin allergies, ear infections, skin lumps and bumps, and skin infections. Symptoms can be difficult to discern from normal behavior.
The toolkit includes promotional materials, including waiting room posters and assets for Facebook posts and emails, that veterinary practices can use in educating clients about their animals’ itching behavior.
The Itchy Pet: When It Becomes a Chronic Problem
Chronic itch behavior can get in the way of everyday activities, including disrupting the sleeping patterns of both dogs and their owners. As dogs become even more a part of the family, they are increasingly finding their way into their owners’ beds – in fact, according to a 2018 study, more than half (55%) of the adult women participants shared their bed with at least one dog. This makes it more important to identify itch behavior to ensure all involved are maintaining their quality of life. Itchy dogs and their owners also have different needs; therefore, providing them options for customized treatment of skin allergies in dogs is key, and will protect the bonds that matter most.
The veterinary nurse can ask some important questions when trying to help a client with a dog that exhibits chronic itch behavior:
• When did you first notice these clinical signs?
• How did the problem start, and how has it changed?
• Has the dog had any type of skin or ear condition previously?
• What types of treatment and medications have been used, and which ones helped improve the condition?
• Which came first: the lesions or the itch?
• Is the problem year-round, or does it occur seasonally?
• Are any other pets in the household showing similar signs?