Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
What’s Up With Your Senior Pet’s Skin?
Pets can be affected by skin diseases at any age, but older animals may be more prone to certain issues simply because of their age. Excluding chronic issues that have been present for extended periods of time, dermatological challenges that occur in pets older than age seven are increasingly common. In fact, the appearance and quality of a senior pet’s skin are sometimes linked to other age-related disorders.
All the Senses
Nobody wants their pet to suffer. Skin diseases can be obvious to the naked eye, so you can quickly intervene if your pet develops one. The following symptoms are red flags that must be addressed promptly:
- Lumps or bumps
- Balding spots or excessive hair loss
- Scaly-looking or bumpy skin
- Flaky areas
- Inflamed skin
- Increased scratching, chewing or licking at certain parts on the body
- Notable odor coming from the skin
Exposure to certain triggers can leave a senior pet’s skin vulnerable to numerous skin diseases, and their aging immune system might be incapable of fighting them off.
What You See
Senior pets are commonly diagnosed with diabetes, liver disease, thyroid changes, and hormonal changes, all of which can cause dermatitis or even the failure of the superficial skin tissue. Similarly, aging animals might have problems with other internal organs, like the kidneys, that express themselves on the skin.
If you notice any scaling or flaking skin, your senior pet may be fighting off an infection. They could also have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, allergies, hormonal imbalances, or parasites.
Any outward sign of illness on your pet’s skin should be handled right away. Leaving symptoms to resolve on their own can rapidly develop into more serious problems, especially because outward changes to the skin can indicate internal changes.
Shedding and Bald Spots
Losing hair is one of the effects of aging, but if you’re seeing more of your senior pet’s skin than ever before, it’s time to act quickly. They could be suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection, or battling a parasite. Hormonal issues, diet deficiency, or inadequate grooming can all contribute to hair loss (alopecia).
Your Senior Pet’s Skin
Many older pets develop benign fatty tumors just below the outermost layer of skin. Depending on the location, a lump or bump on your pet’s skin won’t bother them. However, lumps and bumps should always be checked out and measured. Malignant skin cancers can be treated by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.
Boosting Skin Health
There are some strategies to boost your senior pet’s skin health, including:
- Altering the diet to ensure they receive adequate vitamins and minerals
- Regular grooming
- Bathing with a hydrating, hypoallergenic shampoo
- Daily inspection of the skin and coat
- Keeping routine wellness exams designed to catch any developing problems
If you need additional support to boost your senior pet’s skin health, please give us a call at (425) 742-0342.