What are Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants?
Contact dermatitis is not a common condition seen at the veterinary clinic. The reason behind this is that there is a certain amount of protection given by the fur coat, and our pets are not often exposed to chemicals, soaps, and other potential irritants that humans may come in contact with. However, there is always the possibility of accidental contact with a harmful substance as well as the chance that your pet can become sensitive to something that has not bothered him in the past, such as a cleaning product you use in the home or even his own bedding. The prognosis for recovery from a skin rash due to an irritant is good, but factors like the current skin condition of your pet and the length of exposure can play a part.
Skin discomfort and reaction as a result of contact with an irritant is defined as contact dermatitis. Most cases will result in a rash on the areas of the skin that are not covered in fur. Reactions can occur instantaneously, or build up to a rash after sensitization due to constant exposure over time.
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Symptoms of Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants in Dogs
It is always best to have a veterinarian look at your dog’s skin at the first sign of irritation that does not clear within a day or two. Skin conditions can quickly escalate to serious if not attended to and there is always the risk that the eruption is the result of a disorder of which you may not be aware. Many illnesses will manifest with skin irritation so verifying the cause for the irritation is essential. In addition, if your pet is constantly licking the skin, secondary bacterial infection can appear and make the condition worse.
- Your pet may have red patches on the skin
- The skin may look burnt
- Bumps, blisters, ulcers, and rash could be present
- The skin may appear to thicken in the affected area
- Locations of irritation are often the feet, between the legs on the underside of the body, knees, and nose among others
- The rash and bumps usually begin in areas that are sparsely haired but can migrate to other areas
- The skin may itch
- There could be hair loss
- Serious cases could result in hyperpigmentation of the skin
Skin rash due to affected areas can be classified in two ways. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs after constant contact with a substance that did not previously cause a problem, yet a sensitivity develops. With the condition of irritant contact dermatitis, the dermatitis will become a problem when your dog comes into contact with the irritant.
Causes of Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants in Dogs
Skin reaction due to contact with irritants can happen for many reasons and is the outcome of direct contact with the material and the skin. The irritation can arise almost immediately or can be a gradual sensitization to something that your pet has been exposed to numerous times before. Skin conditions are not easily deciphered or explained; studies are always underway, trying to shed light on skin disorders in humans and animals alike. Your canine companion may have a reaction to substances such as the ones listed below.
- Carpet deodorizer
- Plants such as poison ivy
- Cleaning products
- Flea collar
- Grass and pollen
- Topical medications
- Shampoo and other products with fragrance
- Rubber in toys
- Your pet can even develop a rash due to sensitivity to his bedding
Diagnosis of Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants in Dogs
Diagnosing the exact cause of a skin rash is not always a straightforward procedure. However, there are standard tests that usually go hand in hand with every diagnostic process. A urinalysis, fecal examination, and complete blood count may be ordered by the veterinarian if she feels she should rule out other possible causes for the skin disorder, such as parasitic invasion or bacterial infection.
Questions will be asked in addition as part of the visit.
- How long has the skin irritation been evident on your pet?
- Has your dog been exposed to new irritants such as fragrance, new rubber toys, or medications?
- Has your pet been ill recently?
- Is it possible that he has been accidentally exposed to a chemical irritant?
- Does your dog seem to be in pain?
Your veterinarian may do testing necessary for ruling out other skin ailments before discussing the process of patch testing and trials of exclusion, both which will take time and observation to complete. Patch testing is done by a specialist with a brief hospitalization period and is utilized when trial by elimination doesn’t provide the needed answers. With an exclusion trial, the veterinarian will ask you to avoid suspected irritants like metal bowls, rubber toys, shampoos, and grass. If the skin irritation and itching relents, the products are slowly reintroduced one by one and your pet is observed for a recurrence of the skin rash. Sometimes further testing is done by histology, the study of the skin cells under the microscope.
Treatment of Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants in Dogs
The need to treat a case of skin rash due to contact with irritants is very important for many reasons. Further trauma to the skin will want to be avoided at all times. As well, a pet who has a distressing, uncomfortable skin condition could inflict damage to his own skin simply because he is unable to stop itching and biting. Secondary infections are common in serious cases of skin irritation because of the constant contact between mouth and skin.
When the cause of the rash can be identified, treatment is easy in that the product is simply avoided from now on. If the irritant is grass or wet cement (a common find), gently washing the skin immediately after exposure will help stop the problem. In the situation of an unidentifiable source of sensitivity, antihistamines, oral antibiotics, topical creams, and corticosteroids will be used as needed to heal the skin and relieve inflammation and itch.
Recovery of Skin Rash Due to Contact With Irritants in Dogs
Management of contact dermatitis is the same for canines as it is for humans. Prevention is key. Steering clear of substances known to cause a cutaneous outbreak will be a lifetime reality. However, this can become second nature with a little time and effort. Keep in communication with the veterinary team even after the suspected irritants have been identified. The veterinarian and her associates can advise you with any questions you may have regarding dermatological issues as your pet’s skin heals and returns back to normal.