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Atopic Dermatitis in dogs.

Here at IndulgeYourPet, we’ve found that one of the best way to understand what a particular medical condition is that is affect your dog or cat is to first break down and define the actual terms used to describe what is happening to your dog or cat.

For example…

Most folks aren’t going to go around saying that they believe that their dog may be suffering from atopic dermatitis!


Most folks are probably going to say that it looks like pet has some type of rash or itchy skin that is causing him or her pain that is forcing them to spend all day inching.

Or maybe they’ll say something like…

They’re pet has some type of allergy or is suffering from some type of allergic reaction that is developing cuts and lesions on their skin!

But those probably aren’t the terms that your veterinarian is going to use so before we begin discussion what one can actually do to help alleviate any pain or discomfort your pet may be suffering from as a result of their Atopic Dermatitis, lets just take a moment and actually define the two terms used to describe this condition.

Atopic Dermatitis Defined.

Atopic (or atopy):  is a term used to describe a “reaction type” an individual may suffer as a result of a hypersensitivity to a particular allergen.  Atopic reactions will generally cause dermatitis or asthmatic reactions.

Dermatitis:  is a term used to describe a condition in which the skin becomes red, swollen or sore and in some cases can even cause blistering of the skin.

And when we combine the two…

We get a condition in which some type of environmental allergen is causing your pet to develop an allergic skin reaction which unfortunately if left untreated could lead to the development of lesions and secondary infections which could potentially become quite serious!

So how does one diagnosis atopic dermatitis?

Diagnosing atopic dermatitis is never all that difficult of a process simply because in most cases, the symptoms  or clinical signs will be noticeable and will usually consist of:

  • A rash that may manifest itself as a:
    • Red patch of skin,
    • Pustules,
    • Hives,
    • Or scaly skin.

You pet will likely show signs of discomfort and you’ll likely notice that they will spend much more time either itching (pruritus) or grooming the infected area.  Dogs may also suffer an increased risk of suffering from ear infections as well.

Causes of atopic dermatitis.

Determining the exact “cause” of your pet’s atopic dermatitis can often times be difficult simply because it could be any one of a million different environmental allergens that they may or may not be exposed to on a daily basis.

That said however some of the more common triggers will typically include:

  • Pollen,
  • House dust mites,
  • Mold,
  • Malassezia dermatitis or Malassezia pachydermatis (triggered by abnormal overgrowth of yeast commonly found on most canine breeds)
  • Animal dander,
  • Household detergents and chemicals,
  • Ect, etc…

Treatment and Prevention.

Treatment and prevention of atopic dermatitis will generally center around first trying to determine what allergen is causing your pet to suffer and then trying to limit your pets expose to that allergen.

Now to do this…

Your veterinarian is likely to ask you a series of questions about what types of allergens your pet may be exposed to.  This is particularly true if your pet had been “allergy free” for a period of time prior to suddenly developing his or her condition.

In cases like these…

The sudden emergence of their condition could be indicative of some “new” type of allergen that has been introduced to your pet’s life such as a new cleaning product that could easily be removed.  In which case… problem solved!


Most cases don’t work out this easily which is why your veterinarian may then suggest that your pet receive some allergy testing (allergin-specific ige testing) so that a better understanding might be achieved by identifying exactly what is causing your pet to suffer from their condition.

Ultimately what your…

Veterinarian will want to be able to do is prescribe a specific allergen-specific immunotherapy program that will likely consist of anti-inflammatory medications (antihistamine), which are designed to suppress the over reaction of one’s own immune system which is causing the atopic dermatitis.

Now at this point…

We like to remind our readers that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals, and we’re certainly not veterinarians!  All we are is a bunch of folks who really care about animals and want to try and shed some light on some of the more common medical conditions certain animals may suffer from.


If you think that your loved one is suffering from atopic dermatitis, go visit your veterinarian!  They’re the pros so go see what they think is wrong with your pet!

Our only suggest would be…

That if and after you loved one is cured, consider possibly looking at what options might be available to you with regards to purchasing a pet insurance policy because, this “bout” with atopic dermatitis could be just what you need to make you understand that you’re loved one could be diagnosed with a REALLY SERIOUS medical condition next time.  Which might be a condition which might make it difficult for you to afford the care on your own.

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