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Itch that just won’t go away

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May 22, 2018 by admin

Question: My staffie Max gets bouts of severe itching and smelly skin, especially in spring and summer. He has been treated many times with cortisone injections and antibiotics, but the problem keeps coming back. Is there something more effective?
Nanjing Night Net

Answer: As Max’s skin problem comes and goes, and responds temporarily to treatment, he is most likely to have allergies.

Working out which allergy or combination of allergies Max has is the first vital step.

Atopic dermatitis (airborne allergy) typically causes itch of the face/ears, feet, armpits and belly (or some combination of these).

It is caused by the immune system reacting to airborne particles that contact the skin.

Atopic dermatitis is common, and genetically linked, and the staffie is one of the commonly affected breeds.

Flea allergy is also common in dogs, and most typically causes itch of the back half of the body.

One of the most important concepts to understand with flea allergy is that fleas may not ever be seen despite one or a few occasionally getting access to the pet.

Food allergy occurs much more rarely than atopic dermatitis or flea allergy.

Itch can affect similar areas, and is often focused on the feet, face/ears, and bottom.

Food allergy typically causes constant itch all year round.

The best treatment for Max will depend on which allergy he has.

For flea allergy, it’s all about effective flea control, and for food and contact allergies, identifying and avoiding the problem allergens is the key.

Atopic dermatitis is the more difficult allergy to manage, as avoiding the important airborne allergens is difficult if not impossible.

Options include symptomatic therapy, such as antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, shampoo therapy, topical soothers, and stronger immunosuppressives such as cortisone, which must be used continually to provide relief while the disease is active, and are variably effective.

The only other treatment option — and the only one altering the allergy — is the allergy desensitising vaccine.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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