Causes and administration of canine atopic dermatitis


Stopping and treating pruritus and pores and skin lesions requires a personalised affected person plan

Managing atopic dermatitis (AD) in canine begins with discovering the allergen that causes the flare-up and ends with administering one of the best therapy. Darren Berger, DVM, DACVD, an affiliate professor at Iowa State College School of Veterinary Medication, addressed the correlation between allergens and AD, and administration of the situation on the 2022 Fetch dvm360® Convention in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri.

“Allergy administration is allergy management,” he mentioned, throughout his presentation, which was sponsored by Virbac. And if purchasers assume they’re “by no means going to [see a] flare, that’s an inappropriate expectation,” he added. The “reasonable objectives” are to lower AD severity, house out flares, and make long-term therapy inexpensive.


An inflammatory situation, AD is the second commonest allergic pores and skin illness in canine, behind flea allergy dermatitis,2 and may be brought on by meals, parasitic, and environmental allergens.1,2


“It’s fleas and it’s microscopic mites,” Berger mentioned, however flea preventives can deter onset of AD indicators and signs.


“We’ve to cease speaking about costly diets…[and] fancy meals [and]…begin speaking about diagnostic testing,” Berger added, pointing to the advantages of an elimination food regimen as a diagnostic instrument to establish which meals, if any, is inflicting a canine to itch or present different indicators of AD.


Pollen and dirt mites are among the many environmental allergens which will trigger a pores and skin response in canine.


As a result of atopic dermatitis is multifaceted, remedies needs to be tailor-made to the person affected person and mixed interventions needs to be used to enhance outcomes. Situation stage and severity plus lesion distribution needs to be thought of when making a therapy plan.3 As soon as the reason for a flare has been established, the next remedies could also be explored.

Weight loss program

One approach to forestall or handle flares is by eliminating a recognized allergen from a canine’s food regimen. Growing the fatty acids within the food regimen can assist forestall flares, Berger mentioned, though the observe shouldn’t be as helpful for managing indicators and signs.


Bathing with a nonirritating shampoo can relieve delicate indicators and signs.3 The Worldwide Committee on Allergic Ailments of Animals (ICADA) recommends formulations containing advanced sugars and antiseptics (Allermyl; Virbac), phytosphingosine, raspberry oil, or lipids (Douxo Calm; Ceva).3 “It must be soothing,” Berger mentioned, noting that purchasers who don’t see reduction in pets after bathing are sometimes utilizing heat water and do see a change after switching to chill water.


In accordance with ICADA, topical and oral glucocorticoids, oral cyclosporin, oral oclacitinib, and injectable recombinant interferons successfully scale back pruritis and pores and skin lesions, whereas topical glucocorticoids and immunotherapy that targets particular allergens can forestall or delay AD recurrence.3 Antihistamines are additionally an choice when environmental allergens are the set off: they “don’t cease itch; they forestall it,” Berger mentioned.


Communication is crucial. “I don’t inform purchasers what to do. I contain them within the decision-making course of,” Berger mentioned, to assist them perceive why they’re doing what they’re doing and guarantee therapy adherence and higher long-term outcomes.

Shopper enter can be necessary as a result of not all canine reply to remedies in the identical method. If the situation seems to be seasonal, for example, meals allergens may be dismissed as a trigger. Likewise, price should be mentioned: if remedies are unaffordable, canine will go with out them. “It’s our job to coach [clients], to present them choices,” Berger concluded.


  1. Berger D. Canine atopic dermatitis: how a dermatologist discusses atopy with pet dad and mom. Offered at: Fetch dvm360® Convention, August 26-29, 2022; Kansas Metropolis, MO.
  2. Atopic dermatitis in canine: causes, signs, and coverings. PetMD. February 13, 2020. Accessed September 21, 2022. and skin/c_dg_atopic_dermatitis
  3. Olivry T, DeBoer DJ, Favrot C, et al. Remedy of canine atopic dermatitis: 2015 replace tips from the Worldwide Committee on Allergic Ailments of Animals (ICADA). BMC Vet Res. Printed on-line August 16, 2015. doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0514-6

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