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How to Detect Skin Allergies on Your Lab

Prevention is better than cure, so watch out for these signs.

Your lab likes to run around and explore new places, but that would make him/her prone to allergens. Allergens that will make him itch and scratch non-stop.

We’ve listed some advice below on how to determine if your lab has allergies, and what to do when inspecting them. Remember to take your lab to the vet if you’re unsure.

To treat an allergy, the thing that is causing the allergic response must be removed from the dog’s environment. The result of an allergic response is often a failure of the immune system to protect the dog from infection, whether bacterial, fungal or yeast, and any skin infection must be treated with a topical application that eliminates this infection…

The most effective treatment for any skin problem is prevention, and early detection is the key. Any time a dog scratches himself, there’s a reason, and it’s up to you to investigate.
…Whenever a dog scratches, his nails can open the protective barrier of the skin and allow an infection to take hold. Whatever the cause, this is the time to nip it in the bud. Here are some things you can do at home to avoid a lifetime of very expensive vet bills.

First, check your Lab carefully in and around the areas he’s scratching. Then ask your dog’s permission to check his underbelly. Turn him on his back and begin your inspection at the genitals and the area where the rear legs join the body. The skin here should be almost white, depending on the color of the dog overall. It should look clean and pure, maybe even very slightly pink. Then check his legs at the joints for any irritations or hot spots forming. From there, turn him over and check his rump area near the tail, and work your way forward on the dog, combing the hair aside and looking closely at the skin underneath.

Regardless of the source of the infection or irritation, here are some early signs of trouble:

  • There should be no red or rusty or black dots on the skin. These look like tiny pinpricks or blackheads, but are flat or flush with the skin. This may even look just like dirty skin. This first appears in the groin area, usually near the genitals. If you see this, you’ve already got a problem.
  • Now check for black specks that look like pepper or small poppy seeds. These are tiny grains that are left behind by fleas. Flea “dirt” is actually excess blood (from your dog) consumed by the adult flea, passed as feces. If you see this, you must take immediate action to de-flea your dog and your house, and probably your car.
  • Does your dog have “dandruff”? Crustiness or flakiness on the rump area is an early sign of skin disease. Dogs, like people, do not have excessive flakes if their skin is healthy. Correcting this problem also reduces people’s allergic responses to your dog’s dander.
  • Look for any rash or red spot(s) or raw places. These are irritating to your pet and will likely get worse.
  • Watch for thinning of hair or bare spots. On the back, near the tail, thinning is usually accompanied by crusty flakes, and can remain hidden for a long time if the dog is not groomed regularly. If you see bare patches on your dog’s sides, this could be a condition known as bilateral alopecia, and you should visit your vet right away.
  • Look for scratches, scabs, other superficial wounds. Keeping an infection out at the discovery stage is the most effective way to treat it.

Read the full article here.
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