Atopy or atopic dermatitis is one of the most common causes of itch in animals. It is a complex disease usually caused by environmental allergens such as grass, moulds and dust mites etc. These allergens set off a severe immune response in your pet’s skin and pets experiencing atopic dermatitis often feel constantly itchy, exhausted and restless.
The first sign you will notice will be itching. Your pet may bit, rub, suck, chew, lick and scratch the infected areas causing hair loss, red inflamed skin, erosion, crust, scale and skin thickening. Some animals develop greasy skin and have a strong rancid odour. Animals with atopic dermatitis are prone to developing secondary skin infections.
Combined with your pet’s history, symptoms and a physical examination, an intradermal skin test is the best way to diagnose Atopy. Performed under sedation by a Veterinary Dermatologist, tiny amounts of purified allergens are injecting into the skin. A positive reaction is observed as a raised red swelling approximately 30 minutes after injection.
There are several different ways that atopy can be managed and therapy may involve a combination of treatments. The type of treatment your pet will require will be dependent on an individual case by case basis and will be discussed after your pet’s examination.