With the changing of the seasons comes one of the most common complaints veterinarians hear from clients: “Fluffy scratches and itches 24 hours a day!”
Dr. Corynn Johnson, a member of our 2013-14 intern class, writes about canine atopy (what it is, how it’s diagnosed and treated) in the June issue of Bay Woof, “Itchy and Scratchy: All about Canine Atopy.”
Dogs typically do not suffer from the same allergy symptoms as people – such as sneezing, watery eyes, and sinus trouble – they develop itchy, inflamed skin. What you’ll see is a dog that licks, chews, or scratches at his feet, muzzle, armpits, and ears. You may also observe him rubbing his face on the carpet or furniture, or shaking his head, and scratching at his ears. In some allergy cases, pets may exhibit dramatic reverse sneezing as shown in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=U3L4v0W2_Sw.
Certain breeds (e.g., French bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels) are more prone to allergies than others. Diagnosis of atopy can usually be made based on seasonality and the dog owner’s description of signs. Before beginning therapy, however, it is important for your veterinarian to rule out other common causes of itchiness, which can include fleas, food allergies, and fungal or bacterial skin diseases.
If you have questions about allergies and your pet, contact your primary care veterinarian. VCA San Francisco Veterinary Specialists offers specialized diagnostics and treatment for dermatologic conditions. Learn more: