Fur here fur there,
Fur flying everywhere,
My pet is itchy and shedding too,
Is it the season or infection blues?
Our pets are often adored for their lustrous coat and healthy skin. In fact, our pets’ health is directly reflected in their skin/fur coats. Yes, it is true. We all love a pet who is healthy, happy with a shiny coat and minimal fur-shedding. What happens is sometimes we may observe our pets shedding their fur, our blankets and clothes are filled with fur right after a tight hug from our furry friend. Is it natural? Do pets really shed a large amount of fur? In today’s blog, let us go behind the scenes and understand the basic physiology and process of skin-fur health management.
THE FUR FACTOR:
We, humans, have hair on our body and this hair has quite a number of purposes to serve. It is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis [skin]. The major function of hair is to protect the skin [body] from the outside environment as well as serve as an insulating agent. While we humans have evolved in such a way that we wear clothing to protect and keep ourselves warm. Our pets on the other hand have fur instead of hair to serve the same function.
Fur is a kind of thick growth of hair that covers the skin. A different breed of dogs has different fur. In fact, the fur type, form of fur depends upon the environment which that breed of dog faces. For example- Indie breed dogs [Mudhdol Hound, Rajapalliyam, etc] have a rather thin fur coat as India is a tropical country and is predominantly hot and humid. On the flip side, Alaskan Malamutes or Huskies which are native to northern regions of the globe tend to have a thick coat of fur as the atmosphere in Alaska [northern regions] is supremely cold and thus these dogs require a good amount of insulation and protection against adverse climatic conditions.
HERE ARE FEW DOG BREEDS AND THEIR FUR TYPE:
As mentioned above, the environment plays an important role in molding the type of fur your furry friend might have. And thus, according to breeds, fur pattern changes. Here are some of the most common breeds found in India and their fur/coat type.
SHORT FUR/COATED DOGS:
These dogs have a very short fur coat.
- Some of the Indie Breeds such as-
-Mudhol Hound, Rajapalliyam [Indian Sighthound], Chippiparai, Kanni, Indian Pariah Dogs, Rampur Grey Hound.
- Foreign Breed dogs such as-
– Chihuahua, Boston terrier, Dalmation, French bulldog, Greyhound, Mastiff, Boxers, Pugs, Great Dane, Dachshund, Beagles.
These dogs have comparatively more fur coats.
Breeds such as Corgi, Shepherd dogs, Border collie, Indian Spitz dog, Cocker Spaniel, Pomeranian, etc.
They have long fur coats and/or thicker fur coats.
- Indie breed such as-
– Bakharwal Dog [native to Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Union Territories], Gaddi Kutta [Gaddi Watchdog] native to northern India, Himalayan Sheepdog, Tibetian Mastiff, Kumaon Mastiff
As these dogs reside in Himalayan areas in the northern part of India, they tend to have a thick coats, long fur to protect them against the chilly atmosphere of Himlayan Areas.
- Foreign breed dogs such as –
– German Shepherd, Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamutes, English Setters, Lhasa Apso
FUR FACTOR #2: ISSUES & PROBLEMS
While fur is an excellent insulator and protects the body from all odds, it is also an indicator of your dogs’ health status, while it does add to the beauty of a dog, it is a good reflective mirror that can give you an idea of an underlying issue. All dogs are beautiful and loving creatures, but due to certain skin conditions and disease processes, your pet might experience fur loss, rough coat, dull color, loss of luster, etc. While there are many biological conditions that are at play apart from infectious reasons. Right from nutritional imbalances to hormonal harmony to seasonal shedding changes, let us have a quick look at what exact mechanism works behind keeping our dogs’ fur shiny, healthy and happy.
FUR: A MIRROR REFLECTION OF AILMENTS
- INFECTIOUS CAUSES
Bacterial Skin infections are the #1 forerunners that hamper the harmony of skin & fur. Dermatitis is one such condition that affects the skin. Dermatitis essentially means inflammation of the dermis [skin] and this, in turn, could be caused by a variety of causes. Apart from dermatitis, there are other types of bacterial infectious agents that cause pyoderma, folliculitis, etc. Certain ectoparasites too cause loss of fur and dry-scaly skin, for example, Demodex mites and Sarcoptes mites which causes mange. You may observe that there is a definitive pattern of fur loss. These mites-related infections start with the loss of fur from around the eye region and then later on there is diffuse loss of fur along with secondary bacterial infection. Also, during parasitic load, [intestinal worms] there may be rough hair coat, dull colour of fur which could be observed.
Apart from bacterias and mites, another type of infectious agent is the Fungi. These fungi cause redness, loss of chunks of fur from a circumscribed area. It is a well-known fact that these bacterial and fungal infectious agents are opportunistic in nature. That is, bacteria and fungi attack the skin only when they get an opportunity to do so, and this opportunity is offered to them by low immunity. Your dog might have low immunity which could predispose them to various infection-causing agents such as viruses, fungi, bacteria, etc.
WHAT HAPPENS HERE?
- You may observe your dog is itchy and scratching its bodies against some rough surface
- You may observe fleas and ticks [Fleas are a well-known cause of allergic dermatitis]
- Loss of fur is evident
- You may observe more shedding of fur than usual
- The hair coat is rough to touch
- The colour of the fur is dull and has lost its lustre
- You may observe the pattern of fur loss [ for example only on the tail region or eye region]
2. NON-INFECTIOUS CAUSES
Apart from infectious causes of fur loss, rough coat there are some non-infectious causes too. While major chunks of skin diseases are primary in nature i.e. they are caused due to primary opportunistic bacteria and fungi, there might be other reasons for shedding or fur. It is important to note that, while fur loss may be evident, in non-infectious causes there is less inflammation and more symmetrical loss of fur.
- NUTRITION & SKIN:
When there are nutritional imbalances, this problem of fur-skin-related issues can arise. Food that has relatively less amount of protein, poor quality of fats, proteins, and less amount of essential fatty acids can predispose your pet to various skin ailments. Zinc particularly is very important in maintaining skin-coat health. Omega-3-fatty acids which are obtained from fish are also important in maintaining skin health.
- HORMONE HARMONY
Rough hair coat, old age, patchy loss of fur [symmetrical manner], rat-tail appearance of the tail are clear indicators of thyroid hormone-related issues. Your veterinarian might suggest thyroid testing given the age, skin issues, and other concurrent signs observed. While everyone inevitably has to grow old, skin diseases might come into the picture reflective of underlying systemic diseases. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for arriving at a good destination of health.
- SEASONAL SHEDDING
While most dogs shed their fur at least once or twice a year, there is nothing to worry about in case you observe more fur loss than before during shedding season. Occasional shedding occurs when fur becomes damaged and thus: ‘to allow new fur to grow, the old one has to go!’ Shedding does occur when new fur has to grow. Shedding also depends upon the season, health status, and age stage of life; shedding most frequently occurs during or before the summer season since the atmosphere is extremely hot whereas even during June-July there might be increased shedding in response to hot + humid atmosphere. This is totally natural and normal phenomenon observed in dogs and cats and thereby you need not worry about the same. However, if you observe any other concurrent health conditions and skin infections, you might need to give your vet a visit to ensure safety as ‘Prevention is always better than cure. Skin infections and issues should not be taken lightly as they might be secondary to some other health issue.
- ALLERGIC TWIST
Many types of human foods are forbidden in the dog-cat kingdom, some people might unknowingly offer this foodstuff to them which again does more bad than good. Sweet biscuits or cookies are strictly forbidden and must not be given as they have high sugar content. On the other hand, Indian flat-bread which is made from wheat flour or wheat rotis should not be given to dogs as it may cause gluten allergy in pets and again aggravate the fur-loss conditions. Your pet might be allergic to many types of feedstuffs, and thus, consult your nearest vet and ask them beforehand which type of feedstuff is OK and which ones are strictly contraindicated.
SHINY AND BRIGHT FUR IS ALL WE WANT:
While you as pet parents want the best for your pets, a good hair coat, shiny and bright fur is all that we want! In case of doubts regarding the cause of fur loss, dry coat, itchy and scaly skin, you must visit your nearest veterinarian to ensure that the shedding which your dog/cat faces is 100% natural and seasonal and not due to some infectious agent. In case of infectious skin & coat-related diseases, your veterinarian might suggest some antibiotics for the bacteria, some anti-fungal drugs which act against the fungi, and some supplements for the skin which might include omega-3-fatty acids, zinc, and other such essential elements required for optimal skin. Your veterinarian might also suggest certain dietary modifications, additions, and deletions. They may ask you to add good protein, fat-containing food like eggs, few health supplements that can be added to the normal diet. They may even ask you to delete or remove gluten-containing wheat Rotis and use alternative options like gluten-free bread or rice.
Me & My SKIN & COAT Pet Supplement is a peerless medicine for our pet skin and coat. While there are many reasons behind hair fall, dry skin, itchy and scaly skin, rough hair coat these conditions could be reversed by adopting good sanitation and nutritional practices. Me & My Skin and Coat pet supplement is one such supplement that can aid your pet suffering from skin ailments. My Skin and Coat pet supplement help in maintaining the quality of fur, regain and protect natural skin and coat after injuries, cracks, scaly eruptions, or any acute skin lesion in pets. It is highly recommended to treat hair fall for any reason.
Let’s say No to skin issues, with Me & My skin and coat to the rescue!!
Me & My SKIN & COAT Pet Supplement is a peerless medicine for our pet skin and coat. It helps in reattaining natural skin and coat after injuries, chaps, cracks, scaly eruptions, or any acute skin lesion in pets. It is highly recommended to treat hair fall for any reason.
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