A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your petâ€™s skin issues and treat accordingly.
In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.
Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.
If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.
Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill's Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.
If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.
If you are in financial difficulty, there are ways of still getting your pet treated. Ask if they take Care Credit and apply online. This is a credit card specifically for medical, dental, and veterinary expenses.
Call a local animal shelter or college of veterinary medicine in your area and ask if they have a low- or no-cost veterinary care program.
Harleyâ€™s Hope Foundation is an organization that ensures low income pet parents and their companion or service animals remain together when issues arise.
Many breed rescues and groups have specials funds available for owners who need financial assistance, such as the Special Needs Dobermans, Labrador Lifeline, and Pitbull Rescue Central.
Banfield Pet Hospital has its own programs for owners that canâ€™t afford their petâ€™s care.
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance (FVEAP) works with seniors, people with disabilities, people who
have lost their job, good Samaritans who rescue a cat or kitten who may need financial assistance to save a beloved companion.
The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization that provides financial assistance to cat and kitten guardians who are unable to afford veterinary services to save their companions when life-threatening illness or injury strikes.
God's Creatures Ministry helps pay for veterinarian bills for those who need help.
IMOM is dedicated to insure that no companion animal has to be euthanized simply because their caretaker
is financially challenged.
The Onyx & Breezy Foundation has many programs including helping people with medical bills. They are a good resource for information.
Brown Dog Foundation provides funding to families with a sick pet that would likely respond to treatment, but due to circumstances, there is not enough money immediately available to pay.
Some groups help with specific disease, such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund.
The Pet Fund and Redrover.org are great sources for help to care for your pet.
The Humane Society website has many links to other organizations that help with veterinary expenses.
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