The commonest reason we see cats and dogs is for skin disease, usually associated with itching, hair loss, skin inflammation, unhappy pets and concerned owners. Other than Flea Allergy Dermatitis the commonest condition we see is ATOPY—which is caused by allergy to environmental things—house dust mites, pollens, fungal spores and so on.
We also other causes of itching so before we make a diagnosis of atopy we have to rule out other conditions—food allergy, sarcoptic or demodectic mange, other parasites, primary infections, ring worm, immune mediated disease and hormonal conditions. We do various tests to try and find the exact cause. This may include skin scrapes, microbial cultures, allergy tests, other blood tests and, occasionally, biopsies .
Treatment for allergic skin disease is tailored to the individual pet, once we have made a diagnosis, but may include:
i. Treatment of secondary infections with shampoos, ear drops and topical or oral antibiotics.
ii. Steroids or, more safely, ciclosporin (in various forms including Atopica capsules).
iii. Preventive shampooing and ear cleaning.
v. Skin supplements
vi. Allergy testing and use of desensitising vaccines.
vii. Preventive ectoparasite regimes (flea and tick treatment), and
viii. Dietary modification.
Many cats and dogs itch at intervals; some do so all year round, some are affected severely enough that the skin becomes damaged, inflamed, infected and painful. In fact ‘itching’ is actually low grade pain.
All suspected allergy cases should follow a rigorous parasite control program.
For some patients Atopy follows a seasonal pattern because they are allergic to certain pollens at certain times of year. Some patients are also allergic to house dust mites which tend to cause more of a problem in autumn and winter.
There are some really simple things you can do to help your pets with environmental allergies. Some pets, especially dogs, often have recurrent ear and/or feet problems as their main presenting sign. Some tend to be bothered more generally and for some it is all over. Shampooing your dog with a recommended shampoo every week and cleaning its ears will remove allergen, reduce the yeast and bacteria which cause infections and wash away allergen—the microscopic particles causing the itch!
Vet Complex Dermal Food is a complete, balanced veterinary diet specifically formulated to support the skin function for all breeds of junior, adult and senior dogs with skin disease or excessive hair loss. We specifically recommend it for Atopy and other skin allergies, food allergies and food intolerance. It contains novel proteins and carbohydrates made with duck, cassava and potato.
So, in summary there is so much we can do to support pets with allergic skin disease. Contact us if your pet has skin problems – we can help restore them to health and happiness.