Atopica & Canine Dermatitis Dog Skin Condition Treatments
Canine atopic dermatitis and other dog skin diseases often show themselves in the first two years of a dog's life.
Symptoms of dog skin allergies
include rashes, very itchy skin, scratching constantly,
rubbing the face often and/or frequently licking and chewing on their paws.
Sometimes allergies will lead to sore swollen red ears that are hot to the touch,
and/or frequent ear, bacterial and yeast infections may occur. These problems can cause pain and
suffering for your dog and be expensive to treat too. But a little prevention now can save a lot of pain and money later.
Canine atopy is diagnosed using different methods, including ruling out other issues with
similar signs such as lice, flea infestation or sarcoptic mange. Food allergies can also
cause similar skin problems and can exist concurrently or separate from allergies to
airborne particles. Veterinarians often try food allergy tests first and
a change in diet before proceeding further.
We personally had success with merely changing foods based on food allergy testing.
Sensitivity testing can also be done - allergens are injected under the skin
to see whether there is a reaction to the potential allergen.
Once diagnosed, there are several dog allergy treatment options available, including Atopica.
One canine skin allergy in dog treatment option is oral medications. In the past,
steroid meds such as prednisone
and dexamethasone have been used to treat
atopic dermatitis, however, Corticosteroids are usually given on a short term
or limited basis as steroids often have long term side effects and
can interfere with the dog's immune system and ability to fight infection.
Recently, an oral form of cyclosporine known as atopica, from Novartis,
has been released in hopes of treating dog skin allergy issues
without long term side effects of previously used medications.
Atopica is usually given once a day in the beginning and eventually tapered off to a schedule
of every other day or less.
The most common side effect seen with cyclosporine is an upset stomach which may manifest itself
through a loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea. In this case the dosage is usually reduced,
however, the upset stomach issues
usually resolve themselves after a week or two and the dog can then proceed with the
recommended meds dose.
Another treatment option sometimes recommended for dog skin conditions by veterinarians
is a hyposensitising vaccine, what we might call allergy shots formulated to your
pet's specific needs. A vaccine is created focused on your dog's specific allergen sensitivities.
The vaccine is injected into the dog beginning with a very small dose and then gradually increasing the dose.
The goal is for the dog's body to slowly get used to these allergens to where it will stop reacting
adversely to them. The down side to allergy shots is that they can be very expensive and that they
have to be given somewhat often in the beginning, sometimes every day. Many pet owners do not
like the idea of having to give their dog a shot themselves and/or it can be difficult to
take their buddy into the veterinarian every day. In addition, they can take up to 9 months to start to
show any real benefits and only about 60% of dogs treated will show results.
In certain cases, your dog's veterinarian may recommend shampoos like Relief
and badly infected dog skin problems may need antibiotics and washing
as often as twice a week until conditions improve.
Other oral med treatments such as
antibiotics and/or cortisone tablets may also be recommended as atopic treatment options.
In general, treatment of canine dog skin allergy issues is more a matter of controlling the symptoms
than actually curing the cause.
There can be set backs along the way and it will probably take some trial
and error on different treatment methods to determine what pet medications and treatment plans
will work best for your specific canine.