Atopy and Allergy Related Skin Diseases

Atopy, Pruritic dermatitis (itchy skin) and other skin diseases caused by pet allergies are among the most difficult and frustrating problems encountered in veterinary medicine today.
Solving these dermatology cases and establishing an effective pet allergy treatment can be challenging. While several dermatological disorders exhibit clinical signs similar to atopy, allergic dermatitis is one of the many causes of severe itching in dogs and cats.

CAT AND DOG ALLERGY TESTING

A proper allergy diagnosis requires a thorough physical examination, which includes a complete dermatological history. Clinical skill and experience help to differentiate the pet allergies from ones with itchy skin caused by another issue. All other known cases of pruritus must be ruled out before a Type 1, lgE-mediated hypersensitivity can be diagnosed.


PET’S HISTORY IS CRUCIAL FOR TREATMENT

A thorough clinical history will provide clues to the cause of your cat or dog’s skin problems, and assist you in prioritizing the necessary steps for a different diagnosis. The following criteria have been established to determine which patients should be considered for further in vitro testing with the ACTT Allergy Program:

  1. Member of a breed with a known predisposition for allergy
  2. Clinical symptoms beginning around 6 months of age
  3. Symptoms associated with seasonal changes
  4. Positive response to steroid/antihistamine treatment


CLASSIC ATOPY SYMPTOMS

Pruritus (itching)
Recurrent Ear Infections
Secondary Infections


Areas most commonly affected include interdigital spaces on paws, muzzle, the periocular region around the eyes, axillae and groin areas, and ear pinnae.


 

HAVE YOU TREATED FOR AND RULED OUT?

When looking to provide itch relief for dogs and cats, make sure you and your vet rule out:

  1. Fleas
  2. Scabies
  3. Bacterial pyoderma
  4. Malassezia (yeast dermatitis)
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Demodicosis

Skin scrapings, biopsies, diet changes and other treatments should be attempted during your pet’s diagnosis. When these criteria and all other differential diagnoses are ruled out, then serum allergy testing should be your next consideration.