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The bloodhound, known for its easygoing personality and excellent scent ability, suffers from skin problems due to the abundantly wrinkling skin that gives the dog its unique appearance. It sports numerous rolls of skin around the head with long, flapping jowls. The ears appear pendulous and often have excessive folds of skin at their base. Avoid bloodhound lines with genetic skin problems when purchasing a puppy.
The weight of the skin pulling downward on the dog's head gives its eyes the appearance of drooping and being half lidded. The excessive skin pulling the eyelids downward causes the dog's eyes to suffer from dryness from tear evaporation. Often, the dog is unable to completely close its eyelids. The dog is often in a constant state of discomfort from inadequate blinking and eye dryness.
The excessive folds of the skin cause a condition known as "fold dermatitis." The condition occurs when the folds trap excessive moisture within their depth. The skin will appear red and irritated. It is moist to the touch. Often a foul smell will occur within the folds. The condition is hereditary.
When the moisture persists within the skin-folds of the bloodhound it will often progress to a condition known as "pyroderma." Within the moist skin folds a bacteria known as Staphylococcus intermedius begins to grow in abundance. Pustules form and burst, leaving an irritated area that lacks fur and smells putrid. Where the pustule was located the skin takes on a scaly appearance.
The bloodhound will often itch its skin folds as the infections progress. The dog normally has an odor that becomes more severe with the infection. Left without treatment the condition can progress to open sores, a deep infection and fever. The dog will loose its appetite and appear depressed.
The excessive folds around the ears and their sheer weighty size make problems. Excessive moisture in the ear cavity can cause bacteria and yeast to grow. The dog will often begins to shake its head, dig at its ears with its feet and may even whimper in pain when the ears are touched. Prompt treatment from a veterinarian is required.
Excessive bathing can aggravate the bloodhound's skin conditions by allowing moisture to get trapped in the folds. Daily brushing of the folds using a soft bristle brush will help to remove dead, trapped skin and avoid accumulated skin oils. Keep the bloodhound's ears clean by wiping them out with a soft cloth.