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Skin Signs

The skin can demonstrate disease with only a limited number of symptoms. It can:

  • Lose hair

  • Gain hair

  • Change hair color

  • Change skin color:

    • Lose pigment

    • Gain pigment

    • Inflame (red)

    • Blanche (white)

    • Bruise (purple or blue)

  • Become scaly

  • Become crusted

  • Become scabbed

  • Thin

  • Thicken

  • Erode or Ulcerate

  • Exude fluid

  • Crack or peel

The dermatologist must be adept at recognizing the types and patterns of lesions affecting the skin, and together with obtaining a thorough history piece together a list of the most likely causes of disease (the differential diagnosis list).

There are four categories of skin disease (dermatitis/dermatoses) that occur most frequently in companion animals. They are allergic dermatitis, ear infections, skin infections, and immune-mediated/autoimmune dermatoses.