Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the skin, paws and ears caused by an overt sensitivity to any number of environmental allergens (mold, dust, dust mite, pollens, insects. etc). The condition occurs in dogs and cats and is seen most often within the first 2-3 years of life. Clinical signs typically include licking excessively (especially the paws), scratching, chewing, biting, rubbing, and dragging various body parts all in an effort to relieve the itch. Most pets initially show clinical signs during pollen season and may only be uncomfortable for a short time during an average year (Spring or Fall). Moderate cases will begin the cycle of discomfort in the Spring and it will be continuous until cool weather sets in again in the fall. In severe cases and those animals that may have secondary complications, the condition can be year round.The degree of discomfort is often reflected by the degree of self trauma the pet inflicts on itself and this can be quite extreme. As in people, there are no cures for allergies in our pets. Our goal at AVSAC is to identify the cause for the discomfort and eliminate it if possible or develop a treatment plan for your pet that is specific and sustainable! Atopic dermatitis is a condition that is managed not cured. Below are some examples of how Atopic Dermatitis affects the skin and ears in both dogs and cats.
Intradermal allergy testing (IDST or skin test) is a procedure used to identify environmental allergens that may be causing to your pet's discomfort. It requires a mild sedative because small amounts of diluted allergen are injected under the skin, much like a prick test for allergies performed in humans. Once the allergens are injected under the skin, the degree of reactivity is measured to determine which allergens may be contributing to your pet's discomfort. Once allergens are identified they can be placed in a therapeutic serum the purpose of which is to desensitize your pet against them. An allergy vaccine may be administered by oral drops (twice a day every day) or by injection (once a week). Both have proved to be effective in desensitizing your pet.