Is Your Home Making Your Dog Itchy? | Glen Iris Vet

Approximately 10-15% of our dogs contract the skin disease called atopic determatitis, from the environment in which they live in!

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin disease in dogs. Atopic meaning 'allergic' and dermatitis meaning 'inflamation of the skin'. This disease causes your dogs skin to become itchy, red and risk of hair loss.

Most cases of atopic dermatitis are noticed between 6 months to 3 years of age and therefore it has been suggested that the condition may be a genetic predispostion to the disease. This disease can be limitied to particular areas of the body such as the face, ears, skin folds and areas with high levels of friction, or it can spread to the entire body.

A recent study in Switzerland found that particular breeds have an increased likelihood of experiencing atpoic dermatitis than other breeds. These include West Highland White Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers and Boxers.

It has also been suggested that dogs who spend more time indoors are more likely to experience atopic dermatitis, due to allergic reactions to dust mites that are found in our houses, and also pollen, mould and insects. And therefore taking action is highly important to save your dog from discomfort.

As this disease is reliant on your dog being exposed to allergens, it can become difficult to control without having to relocate to warmer climates.

Treatment of atopic dermatitis

There are many different ways in which your dogs skin condition can be treated:

Test your dog to find out what they are allergic to. These tests include intradermal allergy testing, in which your dog will be sedated and tested on, or blood allergy testing where anitbody levels are tested. However, blood allergy testing isn't as reliable as intradermal testing.

When treating your pooch for atopic dermatitis, there are many different options to take. These include:


A specialist veterinary dermatologist can formulate a series of vaccines made from allergens. When these substances are then encountered in the environment, your pet should be much less sensitive to them. Owners usually give these injections at home.

Anti-inflammatory medications

There are a variety of medications that are available to manage atopic skin disease, including prednisolone, antihistamines, as well as immune modulators like Atopica. Your vet will select a therapy suitable for your pet based on their physical examination. Sometimes a few medications may need to be trialled before the right combination is found for your dog.

Topical therapy

Medicated shampoos and conditioners can bring relief to many dogs. Bathing removes the allergens that are adhering to the surface of the skin, and the medicated ingredients also help to reduce itching and control secondary infections. Using lukewarm water cools the skin to reduce itching.

Antibacterial and antifungal medications

Because dogs with atopic dermatitis are prone to recurrent bacterial and yeast infections of the skin and ears, your vet may need to address these infections in addition to treating the atopic dermatitis. In order to keep your dog comfortable when struggling with atopic dermatitis, it is important to know all the facts and the possible aggrevators and causes.


For more information, please contact us at Glen Iris Veterinary Hospital & Cattery.

We are conveniently in the City of Stonnington and Glen Eira. The pawfect location for pet parents living in Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale and surrounding areas!

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