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Allergies, New Approaches to an Old Problem

If you ever have had an itchy dog, you know how pitiful and uncomfortable they seem to feel. We want to fix that! In our region of the country there are numerous and varied causes for itching and irritation. (also displayed as licking, rubbing, scratching, shaking the head, chewing on feet or other body parts, etc) These causes for an itch can include parasites (such as fleas, ticks, demodectic mites, sarcoptes mites), fungal infections, local irritants, Flea bite allergies, Atopy (inhalant or contact allergy), Food Allergies, skin fold dermatitis, hormone related skin disease, and more. These underlying issues/causes are often complicated by yeast or bacterial infections, and often come in multiples, such as Atopy and Flea Allergic Dermatitis, or Flea Allergic Dermatitis and Food allergies. Please find a veterinarian who will take the time to sort out the details and help you solve the mystery and treat your pet most effectively.
It is still standard protocol to conclusively diagnose Atopy based on a suggestive history, distribution of lesions and itch pattern and Intradermal skin testing results or Blood test results. Equally important is ruling out other underlying causes for the current itchiness. Treatment options have changed over the years thanks to scientists who continually work toward safer and more effective protocols.
Controlling your dog’s itching is not just accomplished with corticosteroids (i.e. Prednisone). Although they still have their significant role in some situations.
We, luckily, have many other options for controlling itching, such as medicines like Apoquel, Atopica, topical sprays, and a variety of Shampoos and cream rinses. Some natural supplements including Omega 3 fatty acids and diet modifications can be helpful too. In addition, there are newer and more effective Flea control options, such as Nexgard, Comfortis, and more.
Hyposensitization is another part of the approach to the treatment of Atopy, attempting to control the problem from the root. Traditionally administered as a series of injections, also known as “allergy shots”. Hyposensitization treatment may soon be readily available as a sublingual (oral) dosing. Yeah - needle free!
Check with your veterinarian if you are interested in learning more or have an itchy dog that needs help!
by Jeanette Cole DVM, Gulf Gate Animal Hospital,
2031 Bispham Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231, 941-922-3917 - www.SarasotaVet.com


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