Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Canine Skin Allergies- Cause, Symptoms and Treament of Skin Allergies in Dogs

Canine skin allergy is a common condition that causes inflamed and itchy skin. The number of dogs with allergies has increased dramatically in recent years. It is now estimated that one in ten dogs suffer from allergic symptoms. The skin is the largest organ in the body and so it is not entirely surprising that skin diseases account for a significant proportion of visits to both doctors and vets. A wide range of causes including external parasites, infections and allergies, or metabolic problems and stress, or a combination of these might be affecting your dog’s skin.
Canine skin allergies
Causes of Canine Skin Allergies
The main causes of skin allergies in dogs are – atopy (allergies to things that are breathed in), food allergies and contact allergies, as well as flea allergies. Atopic allergies are the most common and are caused by allergic reactions to inhaled allergens such as pollen from trees and grass, which tends to be around for some weeks at a particular time of year. There are many causes of skin abnormalities in dogs, and identifying the main cause is not always simple. Thus, you should visit your vet for an exam as soon as you notice any abnormality in your pet’s skin or hair.
Symptoms of Skin Allergies in Dogs
Skin allergies are common in dogs. There might be all or some of these symptoms. A typical itchiness so that the dog is chewing, licking and scratching in a stressful way, often even stopping to scratch during eating or during a walk. The skin becomes red and inflamed and in extreme cases the skin is broken. The damaged skin eventually will become darkened and thickened. The damaged spots then get bacterial or fungal infections and may begin to smell.
Treatment for Canine Skin Allergies
Treating skin allergies in dogs is never easy and can often be a lifelong battle. Effective treatment of allergic skin reactions depends on the cause of the condition. For instance, if the dog has flea bite hypersensitivity, where by the allergen is flea saliva, treatment needs eliminating the dog’s exposure to fleas. Allergies cannot be cured and require lifelong treatment. Even so, with the appropriate treatments the prognosis is generally very good. If a food allergy is partly or wholly involved, a non allergic diet must be chosen. There are several measures that dog owners can take to help ease a dog’s skin allergy symptoms. They may be include:
If the cause of the allergy has been identified, then the dog is usually treated by injecting it with increasing amounts of the allergen. This may take up to ten months of treatment and works in two thirds of the cases. The initial injections will probably be given at a vet's surgery, to make sure your dog doesn't have an allergic shock reaction. Althought this treatment is going on, your dog continues to need treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs like antihistamines or steroids. Shampoos and ear cleaners may also be useful
+Anti-inflammatory treatment
1. Essential Fatty Acids:These are fish and plant (e.g. Evening Primrose or Borage) oils.
2. Antihistamines:These are the same drugs used to treat allergies and sea sickness in humans, though they should only be given under veterinary supervision. Your vet might want to try several different drugs to find which works the best.
3.Steroids: These are very effective in stopping skin inflammation but in the long run may have side effects
4. Local applications: Peppermint oil or menthol compounds and camomile lotions can be soothing when put on skin that is acutely inflamed.
There is no realistic way to prevent a dog from becoming hypersensitive to things in its environment, which finally may cause intense, randomly skin itchiness and the licking, scratching, biting and self-trauma very often accompany skin allergies. Even so, once the inciting causes of skin allergies are identified, owners will prevent further allergic outbreaks by keeping their dogs away from those allergens.
Photo credit:pawnation.com

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