Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs


What are Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a condition of the skin that affects 10 to fifteen percent of dogs and is an abnormally extreme, frequent dermal response to an ecological irritant. The serious itching and swelling that are the main signs of atopic dermatitis are initiated by the release of histamine onto the skin by the cells of the body immune system. This condition can be intensified by other skin inflammations, such as fleas or direct exposure to chemicals. Atopic dermatitis is a persistent condition that can be handled with way of life modifications and proper medications however can’t be treated.

Atopic dermatitis is likewise described as allergic dermatitis and is an over-reaction of the body immune system to an irritant that triggers undesirable and unpleasant skin responses.

Signs of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

The signs of atopic dermatitis are frequently focused on the face and feet along with beneath the front legs and the groin location. Frequently these signs initially take place when the dog is in between 6 months and 3 years of ages and might consist of:

  • Persistent ear and skin infections
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Extreme scratching
  • Flaking skin
  • Foul smell
  • Oily skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Scratchy skin
  • Compulsive licking or chewing on feet or joints
  • Rubbing versus the flooring
  • Inflamed skin


Atopic dermatitis in dogs can be connected to a dysfunction in the skin barrier that increases the absorption of the irritants, making the advancement of an allergy most likely. Particular breeds are genetically inclined to establishing this condition, and it tends to run in households. Breeds that are known to be vulnerable to establishing atopic dermatitis can consist of: 

  • Beagle breeds
  • Boston Terrier
  • Fighter
  • Beauceron
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • English Setter
  • Irish Setter
  • English Bulldog
  • Fox Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Mini Schnauzer
  • Pug
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Scottish Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Reasons For Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Although any irritant can develop into atopic dermatitis, particular irritants are most likely to result in this condition than others. The irritants to keep an eye out for in dogs inclined to this condition might consist of:

  • Animal dander
  • Dust
  • Allergen
  • Plumes
  • Fleas
  • Grains
  • Home cleaners
  • Pests
  • Mold spores
  • Plant fibers
  • Pollen
  • Wool

Medical Diagnosis of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Preliminary medical diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is mainly a medical diagnosis of exemption. The breed of your pet dog will be taken into account, along with a timeline of the signs, and a total health history. The skin samples from the impacted locations will be gathered to analyze microscopically. This examination of the skin cells, described as cutaneous cytology, will assist the professional dismiss other conditions with comparable signs such as parasitic invasions like mange, yeast infections, or seepage by fleas. 

In order to specify which irritant or irritants are triggering the stressful response on the skin, extra diagnostic methods can be used. The most typical approach for identifying which ecological irritants are triggering the response is an intradermal injection test, likewise known as a spot test. In this test, small quantities of the most typical irritants, along with any that are particularly believed, are injected under the skin in order to develop a little localized response. It is finest if the client gets rid of as numerous medications as possible prior to beginning with a spot test, both to assist make sure precision  and to avoid cross-reactivity concerns.

Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

There is no real remedy for allergic reactions, so the treatment objective with atopic dermatitis is focused on a decrease of signs in order to enhance your pet dog’s lifestyle. The very first strategy is to get rid of as much of the irritant as possible. With extensive irritants, such as pollens or dust, 100% avoidance might not be possible, however there are methods to decrease the quantity of these compounds that are in our homes and on our family pets. There are a variety of purification items that are created with the goal of minimizing irritants in both the air and water and dogs with atopic dermatitis might gain from extra bathing with hypoallergenic hair shampoo to eliminate any of the irritants from their coats and skin. Specialized hair shampoos might be utilized to decrease the swelling and itching, consisting of medicated hair shampoos with included antihistamine and anti-itch homes. 

Immunotherapy is a more basic choice for dogs that are troubled by inescapable or serious allergies that result in atopic dermatitis. Immunotherapy injections are created to desensitize the client to the irritants that are triggering the response and can be rather helpful for minimizing the signs of atopic dermatitis, especially in dogs who start the treatment while they are young. Current improvements have actually been made in sublingual immunotherapy and trials appear appealing also. This treatment might take 6 to 9 months for outcomes to be visible, and depend on the appropriate recognition of the active irritants.

Healing of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Your vet will have the ability to offer you particular directions on how to finest deal with the signs till you have the ability to get rid of the specific irritant from the environment or till immunotherapy treatments start working. Guidelines relating to oral and topical medication needs to be followed consistently, and administration of these preparations might require to be continued, even after the symptoms and signs appear to have actually vanished. Bacterial infections prevail with skin allergic reactions and in those cases, prescription antibiotics will require to be recommended. Too soon giving up these medications prior to any bacterial infections have actually been entirely gotten rid of might trigger the infection to repeat.

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