Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs - Page 2

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Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Erika DePapp

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The specific diagnostic protocol may vary depending on what type of allergy or other skin disease is suspected. Every diagnostic test listed below may not need to be performed.

  • History and physical exam
  • Skin scraping
  • Skin cytology
  • Complete blood count and biochemical profile
  • Allergy blood tests
  • Intradermal allergy testing
  • Dietary trials


    The treatment prescribed by your veterinarian will vary with the type of allergy diagnosed. The following list includes the possible treatments that may be required.

  • Avoidance of offending allergens when possible
  • Anti-itch and/or antibacterial shampoos
  • Topical anti-inflammatory or antibacterial drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroid therapy
  • Immunotherapy (allergy vaccines)
  • A new drug Oclacitinib (Apoquel) has been effective in some dogs
  • Fatty acid supplementation
  • Dietary management
  • Antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial skin infections

    Home Care

    Home care is a crucial part of treatment for any dermatologic condition. Careful adherence to your veterinarian's recommendations regarding oral medications and bathing is very important. Some animals may require bathing several times per week. Additionally, medications are often required even after the clinical signs have resolved.

    Preventative care

    Although allergic dermatitis cannot be prevented, limiting exposure to allergens will help alleviate some of the clinical signs. Flea control in the environment is imperative for animals diagnosed with flea allergy dermatitis. Treating the pet alone is not sufficient to control the problem.

    Environmental reduction of any known allergens is advised. This may require keeping pets inside when pollen counts are high, avoiding long grass or freshly cut grass, and limiting dust and mold in the household. Eliminating exposure to certain foods is crucial to effective treatment of food allergy dermatitis.

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