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Treating One of The Most Common Skin Disease in Dogs and Cats

Allergic dermatitis is one of the most common skin diseases in dogs and cats. It’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan based on the specific needs of the pet.

Here’s some advice for you from Dr. Quyen, our veterinary dermatologist.

a doctor giving treatment to a cat having allergic dermatitis
Dr. Quyen, veterinary dermatologist at Animal Doctors International

What is allergic dermatitis?

Allergic dermatitis is one of the most common skin problems in dogs and cats. The haircoat and skin are damaged as a result of the allergic responses – inflammation and pruritus (itchiness). Persistent infection of ears and skin by yeast and bacteria are the consequences of allergy dermatitis as well.

Pet allergies can differ slightly from human perception. The reaction can occur at the first time of contacting the allergen. However, our pets can also develop an allergic reaction to the allergens that they have previously encountered.

Allergies can be acute, appearing suddenly and resolving with treatment. They can be chronic, gently arising and persistent. Allergens can be caused by a variety of factors, including food, plants, insects, fleas, pollens, chemicals, dust mites, and more.

How to know your pets have allergic dermatitis?

– Redness of the skin on the face, belly, back, paws, ears. It leads to scratching or rubbing, licking paws.

– Patches of hair loss may appear.

– Dry and crusty skin or oily and smelly skin.

– Ear flaps are waxy, smelly, red, and hot.

The first signs usually appear up to the 3 year old age.

Skin of a dog with allergic dermatitis a common skin disease in pets

In Vietnam, a majority of breeds acquiring this skin problem are French bulldogs, Pugs, Poodles, Phu Quoc Ridgeback, Alaska Malamute, and Huskies. Some dog breeds that are genetically prone to allergic dermatitis include Chinese Shar-Pei, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Dalmatian, Boxer, Boston Terrier, and Shih Tzu.

Treatment and prevention?

If you notice your pet having signs of skin infections or suspect allergy, consult your veterinarian for a skin checkup for your pets. A full dermatology examination will be performed to determine your pet’s skin condition. It includes inspection of the skin and ears, screen with a woods lamp, skin scrape and skin cytology.

Diagnosing allergy is a process. We start with ruling out skin parasites and treating secondary bacterial and/or fungal skin infections. It is crucial to provide and maintain intestinal parasites and flea and tick prevention, as any unwanted parasite might cause an allergy flare up.

Your veterinarian might prescribe medicated shampoos to help treat superficial infection and help soothe irritated skin. If your pet is prescribed antibiotics it is very important to follow the instructions and finish the full course. Allergies can be controlled by using allergy medications. This will be discussed in depth during your dermatological consultation. A hydrolyzed protein diet can also be recommended as a hypoallergenic food source for your pets in case food allergy is suspected.

Your pet’s coat health can be supported by adding  Omega-3 and Omega-6 to their diet. These essential fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agents. Additionally, if your pet has been diagnosed with allergic dermatitis, the best prevention is to try to keep them away from any allergens.

To find out what allergies your pet has, an allergy test could be helpful. It’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan based on the specific needs of the pet. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help manage and monitor the condition effectively.

Book an appointment with Dr. Quyen for a skin check-up:
1900 633 093