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Table 2 Key dermatologic features for canine pruritic skin diseases

From: Canine atopic dermatitis: detailed guidelines for diagnosis and allergen identification

Alesional Pruritus May be seen in the early stages of allergy or when seasonal disease begins. This finding of pruritus in areas with no lesions can occur in canine AD cases at any point in the disease process, especially in cases that have recurrences or come out of remission.
Primary skin lesions
Erythema Can be seen with most of the above differentials, but lice and Cheyletiella do not usually cause erythema. Demodicosis is highly variable – the skin may or may not appear to be inflamed.
Papules Seen with flea bites, scabies, Trombiculiasis, insect bite hypersensitivity, staphylococcal pyoderma, atopic dermatitis, cutaneous adverse food reaction, and contact dermatitis. Dogs with AD may have small non-crusted papules unless there are concurrent diseases.
Pustules Most commonly associated with staphylococcal pyoderma
Secondary skin lesions
Epidermal collarettes Most commonly associated with staphylococcal pyoderma
Crusting Most commonly associated with secondary infections and excoriations
Salivary staining Indicates excessive licking and often associated with Malassezia
Excoriations Self-induced trauma from scratching due to severe pruritus
Alopecia May be due to self-trauma or folliculitis (superficial pyoderma, demodicosis, and dermatophytosis)
Lichenification Indicates chronic pruritus, inflammation and commonly associated with secondary infections
Hyperpigmentation Indicates chronic pruritus. Allergies and Malassezia are the most common causes and result dark discoloration of the skin. Blue-grey pigmentation is seen with demodicosis in some cases.