Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of Chow Chow skin problems recently. Many times, the reasons for the skin problems vary in individual dogs, where some have genetic issues and others can be linked to improper care by the owner among many other reasons.
There are many types of problems that Chows are at risk for and those are infections caused from loose skin, allergies, color mutant alopecia, entropion, seborrhea, hot spots, and pemphigus foliaceus. Each condition has a different cause and set of symptoms that accompany. Please keep reading to see a brief description of each.
In an ideal Chow specimen, the dog will not have any loose skin. However, many Chows don’t adhere to the breed’s standards and will develop loose folds of skin surrounding the dog’s head. If your Chow has this, he or she can be susceptible to injury, tears to this skin, and infections since the dog is likely unable to clean inside all of the folds. You will be able to help your dog along if you take time each day to make sure the skin folds remain clean and free of debris.
We also find that many times the Chow breed is more susceptible to allergies than other breeds. The allergies can be brought on by flea bites, dust, pollen, foods, or cleaning products. Regardless of what brings the allergies on, when they attack, they tend to affect the skin first. Generally allergies cause the dogs to begin scratching excessively until they bleed, thus allowing infection to move in.
Color Mutant Alopecia
Throughout the years, Chows have also shown to be rather susceptible to color mutant alopecia. This is a condition that causes the dog’s coat to darken in random patches. This condition currently offers no treatment and is often accompanied by dry, itchy skin with small red bumps and thinning fur.
Entropion is a genetic condition that is not only a Chow Chow skin problem, but it also affects the dog’s eyes. This is a painful disease that makes the eyelids grow toward the eyes instead of over them. Surgery is commonly required to correct this condition because the skin and eyelashes constantly brush the eyeball and can lead to blindness or ulcers.
Seborrhea is a type of dermatitis that comes in two forms for Chow Chows, and they are Seborrhea Sicca and Seborrhea Oleosa. First, Seborrhea Oleosa causes brownish, yellow scabs on your dog’s skin that flake off. Whereas, Seborrhea Sicca causes the skin to become dry, scaly, and white; here the dog will be very itchy and have what appears to be dandruff under his fur. In either case, the dog will have a strange smell like that of spoiled oil perhaps, and have an overall greasy feel to him. Although there is no cure for the disorder, there are things you can do to provide your Chow relief. The relief items include medicated shampoos, antibiotics, and cortisone ointments.
Hot spots are another condition that causes Chow Chow skin problems. Allergies, flea bites, soap residue, and many other irritants are blamed for causing hot spots. However, experts have also noted that many Chows prior to shedding will develop this condition from the large amounts of time spent scratching to remove the loose hair. Thus, the dog will spend time scratching and chewing on his own skin which will eventually open the skin and create an easy entrance for infection. The result will be a hot spot that is painful to touch and may exhibit the drainage of pus; in addition, the dog will lose fur over the spot and it will take awhile to heal.
Finally, the last common Chow Chow skin problem we will mention today is Pemphigus Foliaceus. This is yet another condition that baffles experts as it appears sometime between 2 and 7 years of age in the form of red patches or blisters that are not only itchy, but pus-filled as well. Pemphigus foliaceus is an autoimmune disease that usually first occurs on a dog’s face and pads of the paw. Although there is little relief, some dogs respond very well to cortisone treatments.