Bird located ontop of the logoUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo. Open House College of Veterinary Medicine
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Demos and Exhibits


Skin conditions such as red itchy rashes and welts can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from something as simple as an insect bite to a mysterious skin allergy.

Did you know that some pets are allergic to grass?

Pets can have a “contact dermatitis” to grass, which means the skin touches or comes into “contact” with the offending allergy-causing item (grass) and an itchy rash or welts appear.

Just like people, pets can also become sunburned and even develop skin cancer over time due to sun exposure. Sun exposure typically occurs on the bare or lightly haired areas, such as the tips of the ears, the nose and muzzle.

Fleas are a common cause of itchy skin. Pets can be allergic to flea bites, becoming horribly itchy and uncomfortable—a condition called “flea allergy dermatitis.”

Some common rash areas of flea allergy dermatitis include the base of the tail, the lower back, and down the legs. Once a pet is allergic or ‘hypersensitive’ to fleas, just one bite from a flea can cause an itching nightmare. Thus, the veterinarian must do detective work and take into consideration the rash appearance, rash location, time of year (summer time=happy happy flea time), broken/missing hairs due to scratching, and many other factors to determine the cause of the itchy skin condition…because one pesky flea can be a very hard flea to find!

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