Among the largest terriers, Airedales are relatively healthy as a breed, with the exception of susceptibility to skin infections. Skin infection is sort of the Airedale's Achilles' heel -- worse, their wiry, dense coat makes it difficult to spot skin issues early. Be proactive; thoroughly inspect your Airedale weekly.
Better known as hot spots, pyotraumatic dermatitis presents as weepy, pink sores on your Airedale's skin. The hot spots can become infected -- if that's the case, you might see blood and pus coming out of them; the skin surrounding them will feel hotter to the touch. Take your dog to the vet for treatment. A vet might shave the area around the lesion, clean it and apply antibiotic ointment. Your vet might also prescribe oral antibiotics if infection is present. Your Airedale will likely have to wear the "cone of shame," an Elizabethan collar, until the hot spots heal so she won't chew on them.
Although it doesn't usually result in infection, seasonal alopecia is a skin issue often affecting the Airedale breed. If you live in a cold climate and your dog receives little sun exposure, he might experience hair loss, or alopecia. The hair loss starts at his flanks but can also affect the head and other part of the body. Your Airedale might develop canine acne, or comedones, in the bald areas. Your vet might recommend exposing your dog to more sunlight and prescribe melatonin to help the condition. She'll also prescribe medicated shampoo and topical medication for any acne. When it gets warmer, seasonal alopecia resolves itself.
In people, various allergens cause respiratory distress, ranging to watery eyes to asthma attacks. In canines, similar allergens cause skin issues. The incessant scratching because of food or environmental allergies can lead to skin infection in your Airedale. Your vet will perform blood tests and take a skin scraping to get to the bottom of what's triggering your Airedale's incessant itching. She might prescribe steroids to get the itching under control, along with antibiotics to treat infection. For food allergies, treatment might consist of trial-and-error prescription diets until the right one is found. Your Airedale might receive regular injections of allergens, such as pollen, to desensitize him through immunotherapy.
Your Airedale's thyroid gland controls the body's metabolism; when it goes awry, all sorts of symptoms result. Among them are alopecia and an increased risk of skin infections. Because your dog's immune system is affected, his skin can't heal properly. Your vet can measure the among of thyroid in your Airedale's blood. While cats often suffer from hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone, in canines the culprit is generally hypothyroidism, or too little hormone. Daily thyroid medication often resolves the problems.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.