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Dog Atopy

Dog Atopy refers to inhalant allergies in dogs that cause
itchy skin and skin rashes.   
Atopy in dogs is one of the
most common skin ailments that we see in our hospitals
discusses the pattern of itchiness that most Atopic dogs
display and how we treat atopy.

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Atopy in Dogs

Dog Atopy or Dog Inhalant Allergy is a condition that has a
similar cause to “Hay Fever” in people.  In people with Hay
breathed in cause itchy eyes, runny nose and nasal
congestion.  In dogs, the same pollens and allergens when
breathed in cause itchy skin.  Although any pattern of dog
skin itchiness can be a result of dog atopy, most of the time
a particular pattern of
dog skin itchiness occurs.  This
pattern usually includes itchy paws and feet, itchy sides of
the chest area, and an itchy face.  Sometimes, even the ears
can be itchy as a result of canine atopy.

Dog Atopy often has a seasonal pattern to it; in other
words, it may only occur during certain seasons (mostly the
spring and summer).  If your dog only itches in the summer,
for example, then dog atopy should be high on the list of
possible causes.

Dog Atopy is diagnosed by the history and symptoms, the
physical exam findings and an allergy test.  The allergy test
involves either doing skin testing with tiny amounts of
allergens injected intradermally and measuring the skin
reaction, or taking a blood sample to test for antibodies to
different allergens.  With the results of either of these two
tests, a vaccine kit is made up.  

Dog Atopy or Dog Inhalant Allergy is treated by either
treating the symptoms or by interfering with the immune
systems response to the exposure to these inhalant
allergens, or sometimes both.  We can treat the symptoms
with antihistamines or corticosteroids.  Using corticosteroids
continuously may cause liver problems in your dog and that
is why many veterinary dermatologists are now using ultra-
short acting corticosteroids that will be out of your dog’s
system very quickly but still have a longer-acting effect on
your dog’s itchiness.   If your vet uses one of these
corticosteroids, the effect on the liver is almost diminished
to nothing.  We can interfere with the dog’s immune system
by either using the vaccine kit discussed above and giving a
series of allergy hyposensitization injections, or by treating
the immune system with cyclosporine.

- Sam Meisler DVM

The statements or information on this website have not
been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.