Jack Russell Terrier

Spring into Action: Battling Atopic Dermatitis (Allergies) with a Spring in Your Step!

Hey there, Pet Health Family! As spring approaches, the sun shines, the flowers bloom, and nature awakens from its slumber. But, as beautiful as this season is, it also brings a challenge for our furry friends – allergies!

All About Atopic Dermatitis: A Seasonal Struggle

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is like the unwelcome guest that crashes the springtime party. This itchy and inflammatory skin condition loves visiting our canine companions, usually appearing between the ages of 2 and 6. It’s an equal-opportunity ailment affecting various breeds.

What’s the Buzz About Allergies? ย 

So, why do our pups develop AD? It’s like a puzzle with pieces like skin defects, alterations in the skin microbiome, and exposure to environmental allergens. These allergens sneak through the skin’s defenses, triggering unwanted inflammation. Genetics and environmental factors come into play, too, like living in the city, being adopted at an older age, or hanging out in smoky environments.

Signs of the Season: Itching Galore!

Spring isn’t just about blooming flowers; it’s also when our pets might start itching like there’s no tomorrow. Dogs with AD often engage in constant scratching, licking, and chewing. Sometimes, they might even develop skin and ear infections. These signs can be seasonal or go year-round, especially during spring and fall.

Diagnosis Detectives

To diagnose AD, our trusty Pet Health veterinarians must be like detectives. They rely on your pet’s history of clinical signs and rule out other potential causes of itching. It’s a bit of a mystery, but a comprehensive dermatologic workup is essential because no specific diagnostic tests are available for AD.

Spotting the Signs

There are specific criteria to help identify canine atopic dermatitis, like onset before three years of age, itching that responds to steroids, and involvement of particular body parts. At least five criteria help veterinarians differentiate AD from other itchy causes.

Spring Cleaning for Allergies

Reducing allergen exposure is another crucial part of the battle. Simple changes like maintaining humidity to prevent mold growth or regular baths can make a difference.

A Bright Future Ahead

The good news is that AD is manageable. While there’s no cure, there are plenty of treatments to reduce itching and improve your pet’s quality of life. From antihistamines to fatty acids and Apoquel to Cytopoint, options abound. And if you’re looking for a more long-term solution, allergy testing and immunotherapy (allergy injections) can help desensitize the immune system.

Spring Into Action!

With the proper treatment, regular check-ups, and some springtime magic, your pet can lead a comfortable life with less itching and a brighter future.ย  Remember, every pet is unique, and responses to treatment may vary.

Stay tuned for additional blogs this month discussing some of the more common treatment options in more detail and expert recommendations from each of our veterinarians.

Let’s spring into action and make this season a fantastic one for our furry companions!