Home Pets SEVERE ITCHING (PRURITUS) IN DOGS, CAT, HORSE, CATTLE, GOAT, SHEEP

SEVERE ITCHING (PRURITUS) IN DOGS, CAT, HORSE, CATTLE, GOAT, SHEEP

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SEVERE ITCHING (PRURITUS) IN DOGS, CAT, HORSE, CATTLE, GOAT, SHEEP

Pruritus commonly known as itching is a very discomforting medical condition where patients persistently seek to scratch compulsively part of or all body to provide relief.

Nerves supplying a part of the body are stimulated to send signals to the brain which is interpreted as itching, the brain then sends a scratch reflex to produce a pleasurable sensation. Itching presents in varied forms and severities depending on source of stimuli or cause.

CAUSES OF ITCHING IN ANIMALS

CAUSES OF ITCHING IN ANIMALS

There are numerous possible causes of itching in animals. These causes may or may not have any association or link. For more clarity for the purpose of our discussion we shall classify causes of itching into chronic and acute forms:

Itching from chronic underlying disease condition; this type of itching results from consequences of a long standing illness or conditions. These include

  • Cancer or malignancy related itching
  • Kidney or renal problem related itching
  • Bile or cholestatic problem related itching
  • Blood cell production or Hematologic related itching
  • Hormone production or endocrine related itching
  • Unknown cause or idiopathic related itching

Itching from acute underlying cause; this type of itching results from the presence of a stimuli which occur within a short time. Once the stimulus is removed the itching stops. These includes

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Xerosis
  • Pemphigoid
  • Ectoparasitic and endoparasitic infestation
  • Drug eruptions
  • Psoriasis
  • Herpetiformis dermatitis
  • Mastocytosis
  • Urticaria

TREATMENT OF ITCHING

Treatment of itching starts with accurate diagnosis of the root cause of the itching and your veterinary surgeon will help you diagnose the cause of itching in your animal. Elimination of the source of stimuli perfectly resolves the itching problem Itching from acute underlying cause; this type of itching results from the presence of a stimuli which occur within a short time. Once the stimulus is removed the itching stops. On the other hand, some forms of itching would have to be managed especially some of those arising from chronic disease as discussed above

ECTOPARASITE INDUCED ITCHING IN ANIMALS

Ectoparasite in dogs include ticks, fleas, mites, lice, mosquitoes and other insects. Itching caused by reaction to bites and metabolic waste from these ectoparasites results in the body’s release of histamine.

The release of the histamine physiologically is supposed to provide local immunity against the foreign chemical or pathogen at the site. Histamine release forms part of the inflammatory process, however, histamine causes itching sensation which causes a reflex scratching response.

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The more the presence of what causes the release of histamine the more histamine will be released and there more itching sensation is produced. This process can continue until there is complications and coinfections which only makes the matter worse. It is therefore very important to diagnose the exact cause of the itching before resorting to the use of antihistamine.

Case study

HISTORY

Laura is a two-year old Doberman who lived with a 7-year old poodle called Diamond together with the family. Diamond has fleas as well as Laura. Deworming history reveals deworming overdue but all vaccinations were up to date. Laura has been itching and scratching progressively and intensely for about a month now. Appropriate medical attention was not sort within this period. A call came in for us to attend to Laura in Accra, Ghana to give some help with our skills.

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:

Temperature: 38.8°Ϲ

Weight: 30kg

Demeanor: Distressed, Alert, Responsive

Circulatory system: no abnormality detected

Gastrointestinal system: no abnormality detected

Respiratory system: no abnormality detected

Dermatology: erythematous papules diffusely distributed, alopecia around ears, eyes, tail and laterals (left and right), otitis externa, microtrauma due to persistent scratching and biting.

Diagnostic Plan

  • Skin scrapping taken to the laboratory
  • Whole blood taken for CBC and parasitology
  • Faecal sample taken for parasitology

DIFERENTIAL DIAGNOSES

  1. Mange
  2. Dermatophytosis
  3. Atopic dermatitis
  4. Flea bite dermatitis
  5. Urticaria

    LABORATORY RESULTS

    • Full blood count revealed increased eosinophils and neutrophils (white blood cell count)
    • Faecal sample revealed Ascaris spp
    • Skin scrapings revealed mites

DIAGNOSIS

  • Worm infestation and mange with coinfections (bacteria and fungal)

TREATMENT PLAN

    • Deworming was done with the appropriate medication
    • Treatment of mite infestation was done with the appropriate medication
    • Antibiotic cover with the appropriate antibiotic
    • Antihistamine to provide temporal relief as we eliminate the route cause of the itching
    • Antifungal wash

RECOMMENDATION;

Good care and attention must be giving to our pets and animals as they have the right to good health care. Report to your veterinary surgeon if you identify anything wrong with your pet or animal.

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Dr. Enoch Obeng is a Veterinary Surgeon certified by the Veterinary council of Ghana. He graduated from the school of veterinary Medicine, University of Ghana. He has passion for and love animals which led him into training to become a veterinary Surgeon. His patience, humility, dynamism and adaptability enable him to execute tasks under pressure and make difficult tasks appear simple. His experience in general practice brings him closer to nature and his animal patients. Enoch Obeng is entrepreneurial and has a number of businesses registered to his name