Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Canine Atopic Dermatitis in Brunswick, ME

Canine atopic dermatitis is a common inflammatory condition of the skin. There are many different things that may cause your dog to itch and scratch, such as parasites, but atopic dermatitis is one of the most common types of pet skin problems we see at The Veterinary Clinic in Brunswick in Brunswick Maine.

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopy, is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment that are absorbed through the skin. The substances are known as allergens, which cause the immune system to over-respond and release large amounts of histamines.

Symptoms of Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Dogs typically show the signs of atopic dermatitis between the ages of 3 months to 6 years of age. Dog skin infections, including atopic dermatitis, cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Excessive scratching, licking, and chewing
  • Rashes
  • Redness of the skin
  • Inflammation/skin infection
  • Scaling or crusting
  • Unusual odor
  • Hair loss

It is important to note that the symptoms of atopic dermatitis may be mild at first; however, they typically get worse over time. Any breed can develop atopy; however, certain breeds are more susceptible to this type of skin infection, such as bulldogs, boxers, terriers, and beagles. If you notice any symptoms of a skin infection on your dog, you should make an appointment with us at The Veterinary Clinic in Brunswick Maine as soon as possible.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

There are many common allergies that may cause dog skin infections, such as atopic dermatitis, including.

  • Pollen
  • Dander
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Foods
  • Medications
  • Fleas may also cause a flare-up

Canine Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

The treatment of atopic dermatitis varies depending on the cause of the reaction, but one of the most common treatments is known as hyposensitivity therapy. This type of treatment involves injecting the dog with small amounts of the allergen causing the reaction, which helps your dog build immunity to the allergen over time. Other treatments may include antihistamines and corticosteroids to help reduce the symptoms. We may also prescribe medicated shampoos and/or topical ointments to help relieve the itching.

It is important to keep in mind that some dogs who suffer from atopy may cause injuries to themselves from the excessive scratching. The scratching may cause hair loss and/or cause open areas on the skin that are susceptible to infection. If you suspect your dog has atopic dermatitis, you should consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Contact Us Today

To learn more about canine atopic dermatitis or to schedule a wellness exam, contact The Veterinary Clinic.


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