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Do you have an “itchy” pet?

If so, it could be due to allergies.  Allergic dermatitis is commonly seen in our veterinary practice.  Allergies can be triggered by parasites (fleas, mites etc.) food, treats, and often by inhaled molds and pollen. We can help!

Rigorous flea control and a strict diet trial early in the process are important, but often not enough to control the itch cycle.  What then?

Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy) is an immune mediated skin disease that is attributed to a hyper-active immune system that responds to inhaled allergens.   Under this scenario, inhaled allergens (most often molds and plant pollens) trigger an “itch response” in your pet. Traditionally, these cases were treated with steroids and other immunosuppressant medications in conjunction with medicated baths and antibiotic therapy, and sometimes individualized immunotherapy (allergy shots formulated based on blood and intradermal skin testing).

Dr. Jon Plant, a world recognized veterinary dermatologist, has developed “RESPIT” (Regionally-specific immunotherapy), which is a revolutionary approach to treating atopy.  You can visit his website for more information: skinvet.com.  Dr. Plant’s office is in Lake Oswego.  We refer clients whose pets have complex skin and ear problems to him as well as when clients are just looking for an expert second opinion.  We enjoy an excellent collegial relationship with him. 

If your pet has a history of skin and/or ear problems beginning prior to the age of 3 and we have already done a diet trial, we can diagnose Atopy in our hospital with a history, physical exam, perhaps a skin scrape or cytology (simple in-house tests to identify infections) and by answering yes to 5 out of 8 of the following questions:

1.     Is your pet mostly indoor?

2.     Is the itching responsive to corticosteroid therapy?

3.     Does your pet have chronic or recurrent yeast infections?

4.     Are the front feet affected?

5.     Are the rear feet affected?

6.     Are the ears affected?

7.     Are the ear margins spared?

8.     Is the dorsolumbar (on top, between the ribs and pelvis) area spared?

Treatment of atopy is a long-term commitment.  The reward is in providing for a more comfortable pet and a better quality of life for both of you. RESPIT is often a better strategy than long term corticosteroid or immunosuppressive therapy and provides a less costly alternative to traditional allergy testing and individualize immunotherapy.

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