Skin Problems in Wheaten Scottish Terriers

Updated November 21, 2016

Scottish terriers are also known as Aberdeen terriers or Scotties and their coat colour may be black, dark brindle or wheaten. Wheaten Scottish terriers are less common than black Scottish terriers and their colour is pale and reddish. The breed has a low susceptibility to diseases, but skin diseases and flea allergies are common in Scottish terriers. Most common skin problems are caused by mites or other parasites. Older dogs can also develop more serious conditions, such as skin cancer. The colour of the coat makes wheaten Scotties more prone to certain types of skin tumours.

Demodectic Mange

Demodectic mange, also known as red mange, usually occurs in puppies up to the age of 12 months. The condition is caused by parasitic mites that multiply rapidly on the dog's skin and hair follicles. Demodectic mange manifests through severe itching, crusty sores and hair loss. Dogs with a weakened immune system or suffering from malnutrition are more prone to developing this condition. Demodectic mange can also affect adult dogs that have an underlying disease that weakens the immune system. Left untreated, the condition can become severe and even life-threatening for a Scottie.

Sarcoptic Mange

Sarcoptic mange is a skin infection caused by parasitic mites known as sarcoptes scabiei canis. Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies. The disease manifests through itching, hair loss, pustules and crusts. Left untreated, scabies can extend to the entire surface of the dog's skin. The condition is highly contagious and is transmitted through direct contact. Sarcoptic mange is treatable, and baths with benzoyl peroxide shampoo or lime sulphur dips are among the most common remedies.

Atopy or Skin Allergies

Wheaten Scottish terriers may be affected by allergies that manifest through red, itchy skin. Skin allergies are common in dogs and are caused by various allergens such as flea bites, pollen, dust mites or chemicals. Contact a veterinarian to detect the allergen and start a suitable course of treatment. If your pet is allergic to flea bites, eliminating the parasites and preventing a reinfection puts an end to your Scotties suffering. However, if the culprit allergen is pollen or dust mites, your dog should get antihistamines or immunisation therapy.

Skin Tumors

Wheaten Scottish terriers may develop skin tumours. Hemaningiosarcoma is a type of mesenchymal tumour that develops from cells supporting the skin, such as fat, connective tissue or nerves. The condition is more likely to develop in canines with lighter skin, so wheaten Scotties are at a greater risk than black or brindle ones.

Mast cell tumours or mastocytomas are common malignant skin tumours in dogs. They develop from the mast cells and generally affect older dogs. Malignant melanoma is a type of tumour developing from the cells responsible for producing skin pigment called melanocytes. Therefore, black Scotties are more prone to developing this condition. This type of tumour generally affects middle-aged and older dogs. Malignant melanoma develops rapidly and can metastasise to internal organs. The treatment of skin tumours consists of surgical removal of the tumour if the tumour is detected early enough, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The success rate of the treatment depends on how soon the dog is diagnosed. Check your Scottie's skin for lumps and irregularities when you groom it and consult your veterinarian if detecting suspicious symptoms.

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