What is Allergic Skin Disease?
There are different types of allergens that cause Allergic skin disease. Most commonly found in pets is atopic dermatitis which is due to inhaled allergens. Food allergies, which many of us want to blame for skin issues, only accounts for 20% of our itchy pet problems here in the Northeast. Most food allergies are considered a contributing factor to other allergens.
Certain breeds are more likely to develop allergies in their life, these breeds include: Scottie, Westie, Cairn, Wire Haired Lhasa, English Setter, Retriever, Pug, Schnauzer, Dalmatian, Bull Dog, and Shar Pei.
What is the cause?
There are over 300 allergens that commonly affect our pets. Determining which one is causing the ailments can be a challenge, but we’re happy to help!
Allergy testing [with bloodwork] or skin testing [at the dermatologist] are the best ways to determine the cause. Currently there are no 'reliable' tests for offending foods. Food elimination trials can be tedious, eliminating and recording food intake has to be done in a very methodical and precise way. Grain free diets are not the most effective way to resolve food allergies and in some cases can have a negative impact on your pets overall health. The most productive way to assess if a food allergen is the predominant cause of your pets discomfort is to start a prescription hypoallergenic diet.
After 8-12 weeks on this specialized food we can begin to evaluate how it is working for your pet. These prescription diets have all of the longer chain amino acids "hydrolyzed" into shorter chains, and as a result, your pet's immune system will not be negatively triggered.
Thankfully there are many treatments for pets suffering from allergies. We will help you find the most effective and suitable option for you, and your pet's life-style.
Antihistamines: These are safe and generally well tolerated by most pets. There are few side effects with these medications which make them a popular choice although they are often not effective enough alone.
Benadryl: For dogs, administer 3 times a day at a dose of 1mg per lb.(Up to 50mg per dose)
For cats, give 3 times a day at a dose of 1/2 mg per lb.
Zyrtec For dogs, this is administered once a day at a dose of 1/2 mg per lb. Cats also take this once a day at a dose of 2.5mg- 5mg. (per cat)
Chlortrimetron: For dogs, you will give every 12 hours at a dose of 4-8mg. (total dose, depending on the size of your dog). For cats, you will administer every 12 hours at a dose of 2mg.
Apoquel: This is an oral medication in tablet form and is 93% effective. Apoquel is administered every 12 hrs for 14 days, then once daily for as long as needed. This medication is viewed as very safe with no noted side effects and starts working to relieve allergies in 24hours.
Cytopoint: This medication is administered via injection and is 97% effective. Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody and is also extremely safe. One injection lasts 6-8 weeks and is repeated as needed. Results are seen within 24 hours of receiving Cytopoint.
Topical treatments: Topical treatments involve frequent bathing and application of soothing shampoos.
Allergy serums: This treatment can be very helpful in reducing allergy symptoms if used regularly over a long period of time.
Omega fatty acids: We carry a product called Welactin that is used to reduce inflammation. This can make a big difference to your pet's coat. Vitamin E supplements, Vitamin A supplements, EPA & DHA and probiotics can also help treat your pet's skin.