Atopic Dermatitis

July 16, 2015

IMG_0692 (1)Pollens have been making the summer a misery for thousands of Hayfever sufferers. Many people struggle with their runny nose and eyes during the warm weather when the pollen levels are at their highest.

Pets too can be affected by pollen sensitivities although the presentation is often quite different to the signs we are used to in ourselves. In Pets, we commonly see a condition called Atopic Dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a disease in which there is an inherited tendency to develop antibodies in response to exposure to allergens that are either inhaled or absorbed through the skin. This extremely common allergic skin disease is second only to flea allergy dermatitis in frequency, and affects about 10 % of all dogs.

Atopy typically begins in dogs 1 to 3 years of age. Susceptible breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Wire Fox Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Dalmatians, Poodles, English Setters, Irish Setters, Boxers, and Bulldogs, among others, although any dog may be affected. Contrary to many people’s understanding, even mixed breeds may suffer from atopy.

Tree pollen levels peak in March and April; grass pollens in May, June, and July; wool, house dust mites, moulds, feathers and plant fibres can all be contributors. With prolonged exposure and multiple allergens, the condition becomes a year-round affair.

In early canine atopy, itching is seasonal and the skin looks normal. Dogs scratch at the ears and undersides of the body. The itching is often accompanied by face-rubbing, sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, and licking at the paws (which leaves characteristic brown stains on the feet).

Atopy can progress into an itch-scratch-itch cycle with hair loss, scabs, crusts, and secondary bacterial skin infection. These dogs are miserable. In time, the skin becomes thick and darkly pigmented. A secondary dry or greasy seborrhea with flaky skin often develops in conjunction with the skin infection.

Repeated ear canal infections can be another sign of Atopy.

Fortunately for Dogs with Atopy, there is a new treatment which is safe and effective. The new drug works by switching off the itching pathway so it avoids all the problems associated with self trauma. Although it does not cure the problem, we can now offer more effective relief than ever before for this debilitating condition.

After months of worldwide shortages of this new drug we now have supplies and so relief is around the corner for your itching dog.

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