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Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

By far the most common form of skin allergy disease for dogs is Canine Atopic Dermatitis.  It is one of those difficult conditions which eases off and then ‘flares up’ again unexpectedly.  During a flare up of Atopic Dermatits your dog is likely to suffer inflamed itchy skin which may be scaly and red.

Some dogs will suffer from this Eczema like disease all their lives, whilst others develop Atopic Dermatis over time.  The most common age to develop the condition is between six months and three years.  It is generally thought to be an inherited condition which runs in families.  So if your dog suffers from Atopic Eczema the chances are one of it’s parents will do so too.  But, rather like allergies in humans there are no hard and fast rules concerning canine dermatitis.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

This sensitive skin condition can be caused by the reaction to many different things.  But, the most common causes of flare-ups are identical to common allergy causing issues for humans.  The following are the most widely noted causes of atopic dermatitis:

  • Pollen – from grasses, flowers weeds and trees.
  • Dust mites.
  • Molds and fungal spores.
  • Tobacco smoke.
  • Dander – from both humans and pets.
  • Fabrics like wool.

Whereas most humans with such allergies exhibit signs of runny nose, itchy eyes and so on, dogs with Atopic Dermatits react to allergens with skin flare-ups.  Red, inflamed itchy and scaly skin is the result of exposure to such allergens.

Over time it is not unusual for canine patients suffering atopic dermatitis to develop further allergies to new allergens.  In particular many will develop sensitivity to flea bites and flea dirt, making an effective flea control regime particularly important.

Just like humans suffering from atopic dermatitis, dogs will often develop food sensitives, allergies or intolerance’s too.  Controlling Atopic Dermatitis involves a wide range of activities, from drug therapy, to minimising exposure to allergens.  So less contact with dust, dander and smoke by avoiding smoking in the same room as your pet and regular vacuuming of their environment.

Treatments for Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Most important, once your dog is diagnosed with Canine Atopic Dermatitis is to monitor them.   Preventing future flare ups is only possible by really taking note of what causes each outbreak now.  Knowing which allergens are to be avoided provides your dog with the best chance of reducing the number of flare ups he or she experiences.

That being said, if your dog is allergic to dust or pollen there is no way to eliminate all contact in the future.  After all, your dog should be able to go outside and enjoy life, plus any Hay-fever sufferer will explain, whilst symptoms may be better indoors, they still exist when there are high levels of pollen outside, as such small particles spread easily indoors too.

For serious cases of Atopic Dermatis steroid creams may be used, but these do not form a safe long-term treatment as they cause thinning of the skin and serious internal problems.

The favoured method of treating Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs is with a targeted approach.  Atopica works by targeting the particular cells in the dog’s immune system which are causing the allergic reaction.

Using such a treatment for Canine Atopic Dermatitis ensures the condition is kept under control.  It is used as a long-term preventative rather like anti-hystemines.

Controlling Canine Atopic Dermatitis without resorting to steroids is the goal of all vets and pet owners.    Initially dogs may be treated with a daily dose to stop a serious flare up of skin irritation.  In the longer term most dogs achieve relief from the problems of Atopic Dermatitis with use of such medication on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Such medications as Atopica should be used under veterinary supervision.

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