Get the Itch Out: Frustrating canine allergies may respond to natural treatments.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Rita is a 7-year-old spayed Golden Retriever. Like many retrievers, Rita is afflicted with a condition called atopic dermatitis (often called allergic skin disease). This condition affects many dog breeds, especially terriers, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden and Labrador Retrievers. The disease has a genetic component, which makes it impossible to cure. The goal of integrative therapy for dogs with allergies is to control clinical signs, minimize the need for conventional medications and decrease irksome itching.
Most canines with allergies feel itchy. Although they can itch anywhere on their bodies, allergic dogs often bite their feet and scratch around their faces, armpits and groins. Many allergic dogs also have chronic ear infections, which can never be controlled unless the underlying allergy is properly diagnosed and treated. The skin of allergic dogs usually looks normal, but many of these dogs also experience secondary bacterial or yeast infections. These infections make the itching worse and must be controlled.
A traditional approach for dogs with allergies involves potent medications, which includes corticosteroids (such as prednisone), antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine or hydroxyzine) and the potent immune-suppressing drug Atopica (cyclosporine A). Although these drugs temporarily suppress the dog’s itchiness; they do not change the course of the allergies.
Considering that corticosteroids and Atopica produce many side effects (immunosuppression, increased thirst, increased urination and weight gain), an integrative approach which uses the least amount of medication possible, is preferred.
Give us your opinion on Natural Wellness
Login to get points for commenting or write your comment below
Get New Captcha