A weak immune system can cause psoriasis in your dog. When his T-cells (a type of immune cell) are dividing in days instead of months, they accumulate on the surface of his skin to form the scales.
Symptoms include red, scaly plaques that form at the tips of her elbows, scalp, legs and sacral area (on the spine between her hips). As the redness diminishes, silvery scales develop. Allergies to commercial dog food can cause excessive dandruff and scaling. This may be an early sign of psoriasis.
Treatment for psoriasis in dogs includes shampoos, ointments or lotions that that contain coal tar (Nova Pearls, Johnson); or sulfur products (Sulfadene). An omega-6 fatty acid, such as evening primrose oil, can be applied to the skin. Salicylic acid (an ingredient in aspirin and in a variety of acne medications) may be given orally or used topically. Check with your veterinarian before administering aspirin to your dog. Bathing your dog with potassium permanganate (a chemical used as a disinfectant and water treatment) may also help and is a very inexpensive treatment.
Boosting his immune system may help prevent recurrences of psoriasis. Nutritional supplements are available for dogs, or you can try herbal remedies, such as neem tea and omega fatty acids. Other nutrients that are essential for his immune system include vitamin C and zinc. The use of antibiotics, steroids and drugs to suppress the immune system are only temporary remedies to conditions. According to Pet Education, shark cartilage has been shown to build the immune system and has been used to treat psoriasis in both dogs and humans.
Providing your dog with the proper nutrition will boost her immune system. Commercial dog food may be over-processed and may contain chemical additives that are not good for her system. Dog food that contains whole grains, fiber and is low in carbohydrates is good for dogs with skin problems. You should avoid foods that contain meat by-products, poultry by-products, wheat flour, wheat gluten, meat meal, corn meal, rice flour, brewer's rice, corn gluten and preservatives such as BHT, BHA and Ethoxyquin.
See your veterinarian for diagnosis before beginning any type of treatment for your dog's skin condition. Consult the veterinarian for advice on the use of any over-the-counter medications you are considering and follow his instructions carefully, particularly with medications that may harm your pet. Providing your dog with the proper food, fresh water and plenty of exercise can help to keep her healthy and happy.
- Carole Ann