Atopic dermatitis in dogs is a skin condition that is characterized by itchy or inflamed skin. It is one of the most common skin problems in dogs and is also known as canine eczema.
But what exactly is atopic dermatitis in dogs? How common are its symptoms? And how can you treat your dog’s atopic dermatitis? Read on for answers to these questions and more.
What You Need to Know About Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that causes itching and scratching. It can be caused by allergies which make your dog’s immune system hypersensitive to substances like dust or pollen.
Atopic dermatitis can cause overall health problems if left untreated. When your dog scratches his skin, he’s not just relieving the discomfort of atopic dermatitis. He is also spreading it around. Scratching and licking the infected areas can make matters worse by causing hair loss, making it harder for the skin to heal properly.
If you suspect your dog has atopic dermatitis, contact your vet right away. That way, your vet will be able to determine the best course of treatment for your dog.
Which Type of Dog Is Most Vulnerable to Atopic Dermatitis?
It has been generally observed that Atopic dermatitis is more common in dogs falling between the age group of 6 months to 3 years. The prevalence rate in older dogs has been meager. It’s also more common in some breeds than others.
According to MSD Veterinary Manual, Chinese Shar-Pei, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Boxer, Lhasa Apso, Scottish Terrier, Shih Tzu, and West Highland White Terrier are some of the breeds that are more predisposed to Atopic Dermatitis than other breeds.
Atopic Dermatitis Can Also Lead To Severe Skin Infections or Cancer
You may have noticed that your dog has been scratching and itching. This is not a good sign. Atopic dermatitis in dogs can be a serious problem, as it can lead to severe skin infections or even cancer. This is why it’s important to treat atopic dermatitis as soon as you notice symptoms such as constant itching and scratching.
The best way to treat an ongoing case of atopic dermatitis is with medication and lifestyle changes. Your veterinarian may prescribe medications depending on the severity of your dog’s condition and its cause. Atopica for dogs is one such popular medication that many pet owners recommend. It is an oral form of cyclosporine that controls the symptoms by specifically targeting the cause of the problem.
They may also recommend that you bathe your dog more frequently than usual, especially if they are already uncomfortable with their condition. This will help clean off any allergens that could be causing the itching and scratching.
Causes of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs
Atopic dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to environmental allergens, food, flea saliva, mites, and pollen. Allergens are substances that cause allergies in your dog.
Food allergy can be any protein in the diet and literally any ingredient used in the preparation of your dog’s food. Flea saliva is one of these environmental allergens that cause atopic dermatitis in dogs. Fleas do not bite humans because they do not like human blood. But they do bite dogs, causing them to scratch and lick themselves incessantly.
Other environmental allergens include dust mites which live in carpets, mattresses, and bedding materials. These allergens produce their allergen, dander, as a waste product.
Cockroaches which often eat pet food, particularly dry foods containing fish or meat products, are another example of allergens. Further, pollen from trees such as oak or birch trees or grasses such as rye grasses or Bermuda lawns could also cause allergies.
Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs
You can usually tell if your dog has atopic dermatitis by the symptoms he or she exhibits. If you notice itching and scratching, redness, flaking skin, or hair loss on your dog’s body or paws, especially around the face and ears, it could be an indication that they have some form of atopic dermatitis.
According to a journal published by PubMed Central, the problematic behavior caused by severe itching in dogs could also indicate stress. If you’re not sure whether your dog has atopic dermatitis or another type of rash, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis
The good news is that most cases of atopic dermatitis in dogs are treatable with medication and lifestyle changes.
Treatment for atopic dermatitis may include:
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections
- Topical treatments such as corticosteroids and antibiotics can help lessen the symptoms and reduce itching. These are generally used for short periods of time.
- Antifungal and antimicrobial agents help prevent yeast or bacteria from growing on your pet’s skin. These products should be applied to the affected area several times daily until your pet’s skin has cleared up completely.
Oral steroids can be used to treat severe inflammation. The most important thing you can do is to keep your dog’s skin clean and dry. This will help prevent infection and make healing easier.
Atopic Dermatitis is a common condition in dogs, but it can be treated. If you suspect that your dog has atopic dermatitis, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to help manage the symptoms and get your dog back to normal.