Seasonal allergies of your dogs. Does your dog lick his or her feet? Get hot spots or rashes on their skin? These may be signs of seasonal or environmental allergies, a condition called atopy. Like people, animals can develop allergies to their environment. However, atopy in dogs usually results in cutaneous or skin irritations. Today we are going to meet with Dr. Wayne Rosenkrantz who is board certified in animal dermatology. Atopic disease or atopic dermatitis or atopy are all terms that basically indicate a genetic tendency to become sensitized to environmental allergens. Some of the more common things that animals can develop allergies to are things like the common house dust mite or various trees, grasses, weeds, a variety of different pollens. And these are some of the more common things that we would identify or associate.
seems to be some genetic predispositions so that when you look at atopy or
atopic disease in specific breeds of dogs, there’s definitely a preponderance
of the disease in certain breeds over others, so that genetic predisposition
tends to manifest in certain breeds of dogs. The clinical signs of atopy are
variable and sometimes it can be limited to just one part of the body, or it
can become more generalized, particularly as the disease progresses and the pet
ages. So the key areas for atopic dermatitis for the owner to be aware of would
be ear infections, face rubbing, paw chewing, recurring infections anywhere on
the body that’s associated with itching, scratching, and rubbing.
As far as secondary complications from allergies, the most common secondary complications are skin infections, and these can involve bacterial infections as well as yeast infections. The bacterial infections can be variable but we do see staph infections in dogs. A large percentage of these are not the methicillin-resistant type infections, although on occasion, those can occur. These are not particularly contagious to people as a rule. The yeast infections that dogs get with atopic dermatitis can be particularly problematic because yeast infections, like when they occur in humans, can be particularly very itchy, and this can complicate the underline allergy disease tremendously by accelerating or increasing the itch symptoms. The yeast infections in dogs have a tendency to affect skin fold locations. Ears, paws, neck folds, armpits, groin, those are the areas that are most commonly affected.
an owner is concerned that their pet has allergies, the first thing that we
should obviously do is see their veterinarian, and discuss the symptoms that
their pet is exhibiting. Veterinarians will generally be able to decipher and
rate different types of itchy skin diseases based on the history and the
physical pattern or distribution that’s present. Veterinary attention is
probably the most important, and then discussing the options bases on that
pet’s particular symptoms with your veterinarian would be the next step. So
when we’re diagnosing atopic dermatitis in the dog, the hallmark of the
diagnosis is actually made based on history and physical findings, and ruling
out other differential diagnoses.
is important that veterinarians check for parasites, they rule out parasites, and
they treat infection. Or maybe they’ll put your dog through a food trial, which
could mimic a dermatitis as well. Once your veterinarian is convinced that
we’re dealing with atopic dermatitis and we’ve ruled out the other differentials,
to determine which items to desensitize your pet to, that can be done either
through an inter-dermal skin test, which generally is going to require a
referral to a specialist, such as myself, or they can run a blood or in vitro
allergy test that can be sent to an outside laboratory. If you recognize the
clinical signs described, you should contact your veterinarian. Your veterinarian
will be able to perform tests to find out if your pet is suffering from atopy.
I hope this information was helpful to you