Causes of canine skin boils

April 13, 2012

Parasitic, bacterial and allergens in the environment are the most common causes of canine skin problems. Skin boils is one of these skin infections. These eruptions on the surface of the skin are not really life threatening. In fact a skin boil commonly heal on its own. This skin infection does not need the pet owner to administer treatment as after the pus is drained, the boil will heal. However, a dog will be severely infected if the immune system is compromised.

The most common cause of canine skin boils is poor hygiene. A dog expert advices pet parents to refrain from bathing the pet frequently. Too much bathing will dry up the skin giving rise to various skin problems. However, picture a pet that is seldom bathed, a pet that is allowed to sleep on the ground. The dog will naturally be filthy. Germs and bacteria-causing skin infection will thrive and have a party on poor Fido’s skin resulting to various kinds of skin infections. Bacteria that enter the skin through the hair follicle will create a small reddened lump. This lump will grow rapidly when it starts to accumulate pus.

Canine skin boil can also be due to a small parasitic mite – the Demodex canis. This tiny parasite that is commonly present in the hair follicles of mammals do not normally cause any harm. But once the immune system of the dog is compromised due to stress or disease, the small parasite will suddenly develop strength and cause small pea-sized bumps to erupt on the surface of the skin. Boils caused by Demodex mites commonly appear on the muzzle, on the face and on the limbs of the dog.

Exposure to allergens and irritants in the environment would result to incessant scratching. An allergic reaction will make the dog extremely uncomfortable. The worse the allergy, the more the dog will scratch until the skin is raw and riddled with sores. A boil will erupt on the surface of the skin.

The body’s immune system constantly sends soldiers to fight invading bacteria-causing infections. But an immune system that is weakened by an autoimmune disease will be ineffective in fending off the invaders. Instead of fighting the viruses and the bacteria, the destabilized immune system would attack the body’s tissues instead. One of the results will be skin boils. Diet may have something to do with the eruption of skin boils. Poor quality dog food can give rise to this skin infection.

Canine skin boil is not a serious disease that can lead to the death of the pet. Nevertheless, a skin boil is very debilitating. A boil is a localized skin infection that forms deep on the skin. It will start as a small outgrowth that eventually develops into a tender and hard lump. The once hard and tender lump will be very painful as it fills with pus causing the dog to have fever and to be less energetic. The pain will subside when the boil swells to its maximum size, softens and forms a head from where the pus will spurt and drain. A boil is usually healed in one week time. Some cases take longer when the pus is not drained. Cases such as this should be treated by a vet. The boil is usually lanced to drain the pus. This process though must be done by a qualified person, lest the situation is aggravated by driving the infection deeper into the skin.

Home remedies can help the speedy healing of the dog’s skin infection. A wash cloth dipped in hot water and applied to the boil will lessen the pain and hasten the “ripening” by drawing the pus close to the surface of the skin. Dogs will have the tendency to lick the affected area. An Elizabethan collar will prevent the dog from licking the boil and preventing the development of secondary infection.

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