Atopy in Dogs

by Ernest Vaughn, Dvm of Westfield Animal Hospital ( 17-Jun-2015 )

Atopy is an intensely itchy skin condition caused primarily by inhaled alleregens, such as molds pollens and dust. Occasionally atopy results from allergens that are absorbed through the skin or eaten.  Dogs with atopy are genetically predisposed to the condition, and certain breeds such as schnauzers, Irish Setters, Boston Terriers,Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Carin Terriers and Wire Haired Terriers, are more commonly affected than other breeds. Female dogs are more likely to be affected than males. Atopy usually occurs at 1-3 years of age.


Atopy may be seasonal or non seasonal but most dogs with atopy eventually have nonseasonal signs.  About 3/4 of atopic dogs develop signs from spring to fall. Itching is the main sign of atopy. chewing, scratching and bacterial infection damage the skin. The face feet and abdomen are usually the first areas affected. Besides skin problems, other signs such as a runny nose asthma, cataracts, and urinary and gastrointestinal disorders, occasionally occur. Important Points in Treatment 1. Both skin and blood tests are used to identify the cause of the allergy. Your doctor will advise you if either of these types are necessary. 2. Keeping your dog away from the cause of the allergy is not always practical or possible. When the cause is known and avoidance is possible, this is the best means of atopy control. 3. Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs is often the most effective means of controlling atopy. In some dogs, however, these drugs become less effective as time passes and may cause undesireable side effects. 4. Desensitizing injections("allergy shots") may help if avoidance or drug therapy is ineffective. Desensitization, however is not always effective, and continued treatment is usually necessary. 5. Regular bathing and grooming will help control atopy. Notify The Doctor if any of the Following Occur: . Your dog's discomfort is not relieved . Your dog' signs change . Your dog's general health worsens . Your dog's conditions spread

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