Where Do These Skin Irritations Come From?

by tessa

You might be thinking that your dog is unique with regards the his skin issues. You wonder if there can’t possibly be another animal that has the same issues of flaking, itching, scratching and pain. The fact is that dermatological issues are very common in the dogs.

In fact, a recent survey among veterinarians found that dermatological conditions are the single most frequently seen problem on an everyday basis.

In companion animals, parasites, allergies and hormone disorders are most commonly brought on as dermatological conditions. In our dogs, allergic conditions are the most common cause of chronic skin problems.

These require professional, veterinary intervention.

Atopic dermatitis or “Atopy” is a skin disease characterized by pruritus which is caused by an allergy to substances (known as allergens) in the environment. It should be no surprise to pet owners that atopy, or allergies, are encountered far more frequently in the dog, than any other companion animal.

Lucky for us we choose dogs vs. cats!

The most common environmental allergen is the house dust mite – yes, an allergy to the common dust mite. Allergies are so common in fact that atopy affects nearly 20% the dog population.

Allergies in dogs tend to be inherited, just as they are in humans. If the parents are allergic, there’s an increased chance that the offspring will be as well. Unfortunately I do not know of any owners that screen their puppy for the presence of allergies in the parents prior to taking the little ball of fur home. This is why we see that allergies are very common in some breeds of dogs and not as common in others.

Typically, dogs that are most likely to develop allergies generally develop symptoms between 6 months and 3 years of age. Depending on what they are allergic to, some dogs may suffer from seasonal allergies, while some may itch and scratch all year long. The biggest offenders are the common dust mite.

As old age effects humans so too as atopic dogs age, their symptoms tend to become less seasonal. They also become allergic to more substances, eventually leading to year-round symptoms.

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