Dog allergies affect nearly one in seven dogs and that number is increasing year on year. Skin allergies are the most common form of allergy seen and although certain breeds such as West Highland White Terriers seem to be over-represented, any breed or mixed-breed can be affected.
A dog can be allergic to many things such as a food, something they breathe in, or something they come in contact with in their environment. An allergy occurs when the body reacts excessively to something that it has previously been exposed to. It will release large amounts of histamine and other chemicals that result in inflammation. Often regardless of how the reaction starts eg. inhaled allergens the skin is the area that become affected worst. The skin reaction often will result in itchy, red skin especially around the ears, the groin, the armpits, between the toes and under the tail. Your dog may bite at these areas or even rub the fur away. After a while the skin can be come crusty and secondary yeast or bacterial infections can make it very much worse.
Because there are lots of things that can cause allergies and allergies can look similar to other skin diseases, it can be difficult to diagnose. It can also be a frustrating thing to treat because although there are medications that can take away the itch, they often have quite serious side effects.
It is important that fleas are treated very well. One flea bite can inflame skin for 6 weeks in a sensitised dog. It is also important that the environment is kept clean. Often dogs can be allergic to house dust mites and it has been found that replacing your dogs bed every year can help with the treatments of this condition. Bathing and washing the skin helps as does feeding him a diet that is formulated for skin conditions. Some dogs will have food allergies and may require a special hypoallergenic diet following an elimination trial.
Other dog allergy treatments include medicated shampoos, antibiotics to clear secondary skin infections, anti-inflammatories and desensitising injections. All these allergy treatments are offered at our veterinary practices. Give us a ring for more information.
Teddington – 0208 977 3955
Shepperton – 01932 299 900
Surbiton – 0208 390 5270