Dry skin around a dog's eyes

Written by heather vecchioni
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Dry skin around a dog's eyes
Dry skin around your dog's eyes could be caused by a variety of issues. (dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com)

Dry skin around a dog's eyes can occur for a number of reasons. The presence of scaling, flakiness or hair loss around the eyes is often a symptom of a disease or other condition. Dogs with dry skin around their eyes should receive exams from veterinarians and possibly receive medication for treatment. The treatment for the dry skin typically depends on the cause.

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Symptoms

You probably look at your dog's eyes quite often, as it is usually the place you focus on when you look at your pooch. Because you see them so often, noticing an abnormality around your dog's eyes is typically easy to do. A dog with dry skin around its eyes may exhibit a crusty scaling that may be accompanied by hair loss. The dog may have flakes in the hair around the eyes or the skin around them could be red or inflamed.

Causes

Dry skin and hair loss around the eye is often a symptom of demodectic mange. According to Dr. Race Foster of the Doctors Foster and Smith website, demodectic mange is the result of a sensitivity to the Demodex injai or Demodex canis mites. All dogs---and people---have this mite living on them and many go through life without ever experiencing a reaction to them. However, puppies and dogs with low immune systems sometimes experience mange because of the mites' presence. Dogs with allergies can also experience dry skin around their eyes. As a result, the dog may excessively scratch at the eyes and cause irritation and even more dry skin. Ringworm could also cause dry skin around the eyes.

Diagnosis

A dog with dry skin around its eyes should be seen by a veterinarian. The doctor will likely perform a few tests to diagnose what is causing the skin problem. To check for mange, the vet will scrape the dry skin areas with a blade, then view the findings underneath a microscope, where he will look for the mites. If ringworm is suspected, the doctor will pluck a few hairs out of the dry skin area and place them in a culture, where they will be monitored for fungal growth. Allergies can be determined through blood tests.

Treatment

The treatment for demodectic mange depends upon whether the mange is local or generalised. If the mange is local---meaning there are less than five lesions on the dog---the treatment usually consists of prescription ointments or gels. If the mange is generalised, or the dog has more than five lesions, the dog may need to undergo dip treatments. Ringworm is typically resolved with either topical or oral treatments, states Dr. Bari Spielman of the Pet Place website. Allergies are often effectively treated with antihistamines, fatty acid supplements or allergy injections.

Prevention

Since demodectic mange usually affects dogs with compromised immune systems, feeding them fresh, healthy food is a good way to boost their immune systems, which may help to prevent the condition. Since ringworm is contagious, you should keep your dog away from any dog that has the fungus, along with areas or objects the dog has come in contact with. Although you may not be able to prevent your dog's allergies, you might be able to limit its exposure to them. If you know what your dog is allergic to, you can often keep it away from the allergens, which may help to prevent or ease their symptoms.

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