Treatment for Atopy
When we remember that there are various known causes for Atopy, we will work with your pet’s particular case in coming up with the most practical treatment plan. Remember, by removing a primary allergy like flea allergy dermatitis, often the Atopy symptoms are reduced to mild irritation, and sometimes symptoms disappear.
Some other options that can be explored include:
Avoidance:The ideal way to treat an allergy is to not let your pet be exposed to that allergen any more. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible. For example, pollens are air-borne, so a dog may react to pollens from a plant that isn't even found in your yard. However, if the allergen can be identified, it may be possible to limit exposure, and this can dramatically reduce the problem.
Shampoos: The aim of this is to remove allergens from the skin (before they can be absorbed), moisturise and soothe the skin. The ideal is a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo. Sometimes moisturisers may be used alongside special shampoos to help.
Corticosteroids such as prednisolone tablets, are anti-inflammatory medications. They will block the allergic reaction, and reduce scratching. They are commonly used and very effective. There is a possibility of side-effects like increased thirst and appetite (leading to weight gain). More serious side-effects are uncommon, but can occur with long-term use. We will work with your particular case in relation to your pet’s specific needs. Creams and Lotions containing steroids may be a good alternative to tablets, but, again, we will work specifically to your pet’s needs on an individual level.
Antihistamines: May be useful when combined with other treatments. They may improve the response to corticosteroids and/or reduce the amount that has to be given. The response to antihistamines is very individual. Again, our aim is to find out what works best in your pet. Antihistamines are very safe, and the older ones generally work better than the newer, more expensive ones. They sometimes cause temporary drowsiness, but this will resolve with adjustments to the dose if required. We can give you all the information you need to keep you informed when using antihistamines.
Dietary Fatty acid supplements are recommended for all cases of Atopy. Although they do not often stop the scratching if used alone, they can lead to significant improvement when used in combination with other treatments. They can also make the coat look much better. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in appropriate proportions are the most important. Commercial diets rich in fatty acids may be an option.
Immunotherapy (also called desensitisation or hyposensitisation) is the ideal treatment for non-seasonal Atopy. Intradermal skin testing to determine exactly what your pet is allergic to. In time, this can cause the immune system to become less reactive to the allergen(s). Immunotherapy has good results in 60-70% of cases.
Antibiotics are important to treat secondary infections, which can tend to recur.
Chronic Allergy can establish Yeast Dermatitis. Controlling this alone in some long term cases provided relief from >90% of symptoms.
Flea Control is also important for all dogs with atopy. Many atopic dogs are also allergic to flea bites.
The treatment of any other complicating diseases is also important. This may include things like food allergy and ear infections.
Atopy is not a terminal condition but it can make your pet quite uncomfortable. So, please, contact us if you find your pet scratching, rubbing or biting themselves more often than usual. We are here to help you to work towards your pet living happy, healthy and comfortable lives.