Atopic dermatitis is a debilitating skin condition triggered byan allergy sensitivity. The incidence of Atopy has been on the increase for years and skin cases now account for about 20% of the cases we see at Donaldson’s There are an enormous number of potential allergens that a cat or dog can be exposed to and so establishing the cause of the Atopic reaction can be very difficult. Many atopic animals are sensitive to pollens and so very often these skin cases are at their worst during the summer months. Many owners (and Vets) breathe a sigh of relief at this time of year as the pollen levels drop and the itching subsides for many pets. Against this trend, in the last couple of weeks, we have actually seen an increase in the number of pets we have had presented with skin problems. We suspect that many of these animals are allergic to leaf moulds. When the leaves fall from the trees in large numbers as they have since the recent windy weather and start to decompose, the number of mould organisms multiply many fold. When we walk our dogs, they will often enjoy running through piles of leaves and forage with their noses deep in the piles of decomposing leaves. Fungal spores and mould organisms stick to the paws and muzzles and are inhaled deep into the lungs where they can trigger an allergic reaction in a sensitised individual. Avoiding exposure to an allergen is always the best way to control an allergy and it may be easier to make your pet avoid contact with piles of leaves in Autumn than it was to avoid grass in the Summer months. Speak to your Vet if your pet is itchy as it may be that medication is required to control the problem. There are many medicines and shampoos that are proven to help control these problems but always remember that once your pet has a Seasonal allergy, they are very likely to present with similar signs at the same time every year.