Atopic dermatitis in dogs (allergic dermatitis, canine atopy) is a hypersensitivity or over-reaction to a variety of commonplace and otherwise harmless substances in the environment.These allergens include plant pollens, house dust mites, or mold spores.
Most allergic dogs begin to show signs between one and three years of age. Due to the hereditary nature of the disease, several breeds of dogs appear predisposed to allergies. These dog breeds include: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers and other terriers, and Bulldogs. However any dog, including mixed breed dogs, can have atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dogs will scratch, chew, lick, or rub areas of the body such as their paws, face, and rear end. They can have recurrent skin, ear, and anal gland inflammation and infections. This itchy behaviour, or pruritus, can cause hair loss and reddening and thickening of the skin. In some dogs, other causes can work with a dog’s allergies to cause itching. For example, parasites such as fleas or infection from bacteria or yeast can all worsen the level of itching from allergies. Therefore, it is important to treat any other health problems that could cause itching to manage your pet’s allergies.
Once your pet’s veterinarian has diagnosed atopic dermatitis, allergy tests can be used to identify what a pet is allergic to in the environment. There are two types of allergy tests...
SOURCE: This educational resource is courtesy of VeterinaryPartner.vin.com.