| Canine Library:
Many Reasons for Rashes
Rashes are common reactions to irritation of the skin, and unfortunately there are dozens of potential causes for the irritation. These include contact allergens (pollens, mold spores), food allergies, bacterial infections, self-mutilation, ectopic parasites, yeast or fungal infections, overactive oil glands, lack of proper skin growth due to hormonal imbalances (thyroid, estrogen, adrenal), genetic disorders (dermatomyositis, acrodermatitis, cutaneous asthenia, sebaceous adenitis) or even some forms of skin cancer.
Because many or most of these conditions have signs that overlap, a specific diagnosis is important. Skin biopsies are best read by boardcertified veterinary dermatopathologists, pathologists who specialize in dog and cat skin. There are many of these specialists around the country who, for a nominal fee, can read and interpret the biopsies your veterinarian mails to them.
You may also wish to seek a second opinion from a veterinary dermatologist. Your veterinarian can refer you to a specialist.
Author(s): Wilcox, Bonnie, D.V.M.
Canine Library: Allergy