Allergic skin reactions in dogs happen when the allergens are crossing directly across the skin barrier and there is an insufficient skin barrier that not only allows more allergens in but also allows increased bacterial and yeast colonisation in some cases.
- Pruritis – Especially involves feet, ears, face, flanks, abdomen.
- Inflammation – The skin often “flares up” intermittently with pink to red skin, often warm to feel and sometimes thickened.
- Smell – Smelly skin is usually associated with secondary bacterial or yeast (or Allergic reactions occur in dogs when the body’s protection system reacts abnormally to substances such as fleas, pollens, mold spores, mites, and certain foods.
- Pimples, scales, blisters, macules and abrasions (from self trauma).
- Alopecia – hair loss can be due to self trauma or infections and scabs.
- NB – all the above applies equally to ear skin.
Here are a few tips to Treat Mild and moderate Skin Allergies:
1. Mild cases (moderate pruritus, mild inflammation)
- Soothing shampoos and conditioner – PAW nutriderm. Weekly bathing.
- Daily wipe down with wet wipes – physically removes allergens from the skin and is cooling for inflamed skin.
- Antihistamines – These are great for some dogs but not all dogs will respond.
- Cortavance – prescription.
- Fish Oils, Essential Fatty Acids – high dose.
- Dietary change – The specific type of diet that is recommended depends on the type of allergy we suspect. A diagnostic test and strict protocols must be followed to allow confidence in the results.
2. Moderate cases As above plus:
- Steroid tablets – These will give immediate relief in most cases of allergies (with control of secondary infections). They have short term and long term side effects but a couple of short courses per year are safe.
- Antibiotics – often systemic antibiotics are needed to control infections.
- Medicated shampoos – Malaseb or Mediderm shampoos can be used once or twice weekly to control bacterial and yeast infections. They are recommended to be used with soothing oatmeal conditioners (Nutriderm or Aloveen)