A cat scratching itselfIs your pet constantly chewing on his or her paws? Is he or she suffering from one of more areas of raw, exposed skin (hot spots)? Does your pet’s constant  or biting drive you crazy, possibly even waking you up at night?

If this sounds like your pet, he or she may be suffering from an inherited form of allergies known as atopy.  

Atopy: Know The Symptoms

Of the five most prevalent forms of allergies in pets (food, inhalant (atopy), flea, contact, bacterial sensitivity), atopy is the second most common.

Atopy is defined as a state of hypersensitivity to environmental allergens due to a genetic predisposition (family history). This can lead to your pet developing allergies to common airborne particles such as pollen, mold, and dust mites.

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory and chronic skin condition resulting from atopic allergies. Atopic dermatitis causes itching, scratching, rubbing, or  certain areas of the body such as:

  • Area around the eyes
  • Ears
  • Paws and in between toes
  • Underarms
  • Groin area
  • Muzzle

Diagnosis Of Atopy

If you suspect your pet is suffering from atopy, give us a call to schedule an appointment. By ruling out other (food, fleas, seasonal) with a thorough medical assessment along with comprehensive allergy testing we can come up with a treatment plan tailored specifically to your four-legged friend.

Help For Pets With Atopy

While a permanent cure for atopy in pets is not usually possible, controlling the symptoms is a relatively straightforward process and will offer your pet significant relief. Depending on the severity of your pet’s atopic dermatitis, the following treatment options are recommended:

  • Medications (corticosteroids, antihistamines, certain antibiotics)
  • Allergy injections
  • Fatty acid supplementation
  • Bathing with anti-itch shampoos

Hypothyroidism And Atopy

In some instances a pet with atopy may also suffer from (low thyroid gland production). Since the thyroid gland affects the skin, pets with hypothyroidism will usually experience exacerbated itching and increased skin infections.

Hypothyroidism is easily treated with medication. Once your pet’s hypothyroidism is under control, he or she will likely benefit more from other atopy treatments, such as medications or injections.

Lifestyle Changes

Oftentimes, a few easy changes can be made to your pet’s daily routine to help him or her avoid the allergens that trigger atopy. Depending on what your pet is allergic to, these changes range from more frequent brushing and bathing, to wiping off paws after being outside, to using air filters in the home, and many more.

The Pet Experts At Elmhurst Animal Care Center are here to help! We will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, so your pet can enjoy life free from the symptoms of atopy.