A wellness exam for your pet should happen annually so that you can get an overall health assessment of your pet. The vet may do a physical exam and then urine tests, blood work, and/or a parasite screening. One aspect of the pet wellness exam your vet may perform is a skin scrape test. Read on to learn more about skin scrape testing is and how to prevent future health issues.
What is a Skin Scrape Test?
Like the name implies, during this test, your vet will take a small scalpel blade and scrape a small portion of your dog's skin. The skin sample is then placed on a slide and placed under a microscope. From the slide, your vet can determine if your dog is infested with external parasites.
By the size and shape of the sample, your doctor will be able to identify whether your dog has parasite eggs, mange-causing mites, chiggers, etc. A skin scrape test can confirm whether your dog's infection is truly caused by parasites or if the issue is due to another problem, like a fungal infection.
What if Your Dog's Test Comes Back Positive for a Parasite?
If your dog's skin scrape comes back positive, then your vet may want to apply an antibacterial agent and shampoo. These baths will make your dog feel more comfortable and help to kill any pests. Your vet may also prescribe chewable medications that your dog can take at home with his or her regular food. Since parasites can live in textiles, it's a good idea to wash your linens, clothes, and other fabrics with a soap that's recommended by your vet.
How Do Your Prevent Future Infections?
Dogs tend to pick up parasites if they come in contact to other infected animals. So, you may want to place a fence around your yard or have a pest control service come by to keep other wild animals at bay. Your dog could even pick up parasites at a grooming facility or a dog park, so it's important to know the signs of an infection. Mites, chiggers, and other parasitic bugs can cause your dog to
- itch or scratch incessantly
- bite tufts of fur
- lose hair in patches
- develop crusty skin sores and rashes
- develop dandruff
While it's important to brush your dog regularly to reduce matted fur, it is is also a good time to examine your dog's skin so that you can catch a parasitic infection sooner and get your dog into the vet for help.
Contact a vet in your area for more information on skin scrape tests, treatments, and/or other pet wellness services.