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Skin conditions related to diet

02 September 2016
5 mins read
Volume 7 · Issue 7


Skin conditions in dogs and cats can be caused by nutritional deficiency or due to adverse reactions to food. The most common deficiencies are to zinc, vitamin A and polyunsaturated acids. Adverse reactions may be due to toxins within the diet or due to immunological or allergic reactions to the food.

Diet plays a major role in the maintenance of a healthy coat and skin in dogs and cats. Deficiencies in certain components of the diet such as zinc, vitamin A and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can cause skin disease.

Acquired nutritional deficiencies due to poorly prepared or unbalanced diets are rare in modern times due to the high quality and regulation of commercial foods in developed countries (Miller, 1989; Watson, 1998). Zinc deficiency is a rare condition but it can be seen in young, rapidly growing, large breed dogs fed diets either deficient in zinc or with high levels of plant phytates or calcium and/or fed cereal or soya based diets. The phytates or calcium in the diet competes with zinc for absorption from the bowel, leading to a relative deficiency. Dogs typically present with crusting lesions at the mucocutaneous junctions, pressure points and trunk (Figure 1). Lesions resolve once a more balanced diet is fed (Sousa et al, 1988; Roudebush and Wedekind, 2002).

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