Dermatology 1Arguably nothing is more uncomfortable that itchy, irritated skin. Whether your animal is suffering from parasites, allergies or some other skin problem. Pet Kare Clinic doctors will offer a complete workup to get to the root of the issue and get your pet feeling better!

The first step we’ll often take with an itchy dog or cat is gathering evidence to help us diagnose the disease. In house procedures include: skin cytology, skin scrapings, trichograms (hair shaft morphology), fungal cultures and biopsies.

Parasites are among the most easily treated problems while allergic or immune compromised individuals often have life long treatments requiring many follow-up visits and special therapeutic tactics. For more details on parasites we see most commonly in Steamboat, check out our blog post on external parasites.

We see quite a lot of dogs in this area with allergic skin disease, aka atopic dermatitis:

“Atopic dermatitis or canine atopy is an inherited predisposition to develop allergic symptoms following repeated exposure to some otherwise harmless substance, an “allergen,” such as dust mites or pollen. Most dogs begin to show their allergic signs between 1 and 3 years of age. Due to the hereditary nature of the disease, several breeds, including golden retrievers, most terriers, Irish setters, Lhasa apsos, Dalmatians, bulldogs and Old English sheep dogs are more commonly atopic, but many dogs, including mixed breed dogs can have atopic dermatitis. The incidence is increasing both in man and animals.

Dermatology 2Atopic animals will usually rub, lick, chew, bite or scratch at their feet, muzzle, ears, armpits or groin, causing hair loss, and reddening and thickening of the skin. In some cases several skin problems can “add” together to cause an animal to itch where just the allergy alone would not be enough to cause itching. These problems include air borne-allergens (pollens, etc.), allergens in food, and allergens from parasites (fleas, etc.) and also bacterial or yeast infections of the skin. Eliminating some but not all of the problems may allow a patient’s itchiness to go away. Therefore it is important to treat any other problems that could be making your pet itch while dealing with allergy.” – from VIN-Library-Client-Education-Sheet

The good news is that there have been great pharmaceutical advances in the treatment of atopic dermatitis in just the past couple years.

  • Apoquel is an oral tablet taken once daily and has very few side effects
  • Cytopoint is an injectable medication that keep the symptoms away for a month or more!
  • Atopica (cylosporine) is another option in the treatment of AD that has been on the market for 15 years.
  • Seroids (prednisone, prednisolone, Termaril P) were the only option in the treatment of AD for many decades but aren’t usually the best choice anymore due to the many negative side effect.

If your pet is itchy, make an appointment with your vet to find out if any of the above treatments are right for your pet.