Canine & Feline Atopic diseases

 
 
   
 
 

Canine and Feline Atopic disease

What is Atopy?

Atopy means that your pet has an inherited predisposition to develop antibodies against environmental allergens. When the animal is exposed to these allergens the immune system mounts an inappropriate response, resulting in an allergic reaction. Clinically this may manifest itself as a dermatitis.

Can you cure atopic dermatitis?

No but you can control it.

How? - Most of the allergens are present in the environment and cannot be removed, but minimising exposure can help relieve the clinical symptoms.

You can take the following precautions that will help:

House dust:
Keep your pet out while vacuuming

House dust mites:
These are the most common causes of allergy both in pets and in people. They are almost impossible to remove as they are found in carpets, sofas, bedding, mattresses and curtains. They feed on human and animal skin cells and hair.

1) Use a Vet Bed and plastic basket to avoid build-up of the mite> antigens

2) Wash bedding in hot water at 70degrees centigrade every week

3) Avoid letting your pet onto stuffed furniture

4) Try and keep your pet in an uncarpeted room

5) Avoid stuffed toys. If your pet is used to stuffed toys try freezing them to kill the mites

6) Use Indorex / Acclaim/ Nuvan Staykill every 3 months

7) Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters

8) Dust mite proof covers for pillows, quilts and mattresses are also recommended

9) Wet wipe and mop daily if possible.

 

For more information on mites visit www.acari.be

 

Moulds:
These are present both outside and inside the house. The levels vary throughout the year depending on temperature, humidity and moisture.

Avoid barns, grass when mowed, dusty dog foods and keep a damp free environment


Pollens:

These tend to be seasonal. Tree pollens are generally present during the spring, weeds during spring, summer and autumn and grass in the summer.

1) Avoid fields

2) Keep grass short

3) Keep your pet in when the pollen count is high

Storage Mites

1) Keep dry food in its original bag

2) Do not mix different bags of food

3) For preference store the bag in an airtight container in a cool dry place

4) Avoid dusty dry food (those that leave crumbs and dust at the bottom of the bag

5) Best to buy in small quantities

6) Freeze and take out a portion at a time for use


Medical Management of Atopic dermatitis
There are different groups of drugs that may help your pet. You must remember that you must achieve a situation where the animal is "comfortably itchy". Otherwise it could mean the doses are too high.

1) Antihistamines: There are various drugs in this category that may benefit your pet. You may be asked to try two or three different groups for a week at a time and eventually use the one that gave the best result. The success rate is between 30-50%.

2) Evening primrose oil: combined with marine fish oil can be used in high doses to help control the allergic dermatitis.

3) Corticosteroids: This group of drugs almost always stop the "ITCH" but are also responsible for undesirable side effects. They should be used as a last resort when other alternatives are not possible.

4) Allergen specific immunotherapy: This simply means that you inject increasing amounts of the substances that your dog is allergic to. This results in the immune system being able to mount an appropriate immune response to the allergens when exposed to them. This method has a success rate of 50-70 % and if your dog does not respond within the first 10 months it is unlikely to work. However combining this therapy with antihistamines improves the success rate. It can also be used to reduce the steroid doses if they are required. If your pet responds to the immunotherapy you should continue it for life.

5) Cyclosporine: this is a potent immunomodulating drug which can be used for managing atopic dermatitis. At present the side effects of its long-term use are not known, so it should be used with care and under supervision.

6) Shampoo therapy: regular bathing with a appropriate shampoo is an important part of therapy as it helps removes micro-organisms from the hair and skin, restores the moisture and washes off any allergens caught in the hair and on the skin. It also reduces the itch levels.

7) Topical steroids: Hydrocortisone acepomate is a useful steroid that is not adsorbed systematically and that therefore has fewer side effects than systemic corticosteroids. It is particularly useful when used in conjunction with immunotherapy.

The notes in this leaflet are only a brief explanation. If you wish to discuss any point further please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Anita Patel (Veterinary Dermatologist)

 

4) Allergen specific immunotherapy: This simply means that you inject increasing amounts of the substances that your dog is allergic to. This results in the immune system being able to mount an appropriate immune response to the allergens when exposed to them. This method has a success rate of 50-70 % and if your dog does not respond within the first 10 months it is unlikely to work. However combining this therapy with antihistamines improves the success rate. It can also be used to reduce the steroid doses if they are required. If your pet responds to the immunotherapy you should continue it for life.

5) Cyclosporine: this is a potent immunomodulating drug which can be used for managing atopic dermatitis. At present the side effects of its long-term use are not known, so it should be used with care and under supervision.

6) Shampoo therapy: regular bathing with a appropriate shampoo is an important part of therapy as it helps removes micro-organisms from the hair and skin, restores the moisture and washes off any allergens caught in the hair and on the skin. It also reduces the itch levels.

7) Topical steroids: Hydrocortisone acepomate is a useful steroid that is not adsorbed systematically and that therefore has fewer side effects than systemic corticosteroids. It is particularly useful when used in conjunction with immunotherapy.

 

The notes above are only a brief explanation. If you wish to discuss any point further please do not hesitate to contact me.

Anita Patel (Veterinary Dermatologist)


 

back to Useful Information