Animal Dermatology Clinic of BC

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Certified Specialist in Skin, Ears, Hair, Nails and Allergies

Allergy Treatment

The best approach to the atopic (environmental allergy) patient is to first allergy skin test the patient to make sure that they have environmental allergies. Once you have a positive skin test for environmental allergies in dog and cat, you then can recommend both specific and non-specific therapies for atopy. The next step after confirming the diagnosis of atopy with the allergy skin test is to check for a co-existing food allergy, by doing an elimination food trial over the next 6-8 weeks. During this time you can commence treatment for atopy. The best treatment for atopy causes multi-modal therapy utilizing both specific, non-specific treatment and controlling infection in dog and cat.

The 4 Keys To Success

  • Diagnose and treat any bacterial and or yeast infections caused by the allergic disease. These infections will produce odour, contribute to the itch and will upregulate allergic disease in cat and dog (make the allergies worse)

  • Diagnose and control any concurrent food allergies (approximately 30% of atopic patient will also have food allergies attributing to the itching)
  • Non-Specific treatment for atopy
  • A) Drugs Treatment

    • Cyclosporine (atopica) ~60% effective, expensive, few side effects
    • Antihistamines, ~20-30% effective, few side effects
    • Essential Fatty Acids- helps ~20-50% of cases =fish, borage, flaxseed oil
    • Cortisone (Corticosteroids) ~70-80% effective, cheap, lots of side effects
    • Pentoxyfylline- helps reduce cortisone dosage, never used by itself

  • Specific therapy treatment for atopy
  • A) Avoidance

    • Reduce exposure to offending allergens, not practical in all cases, works well with house dust mites in the house

    B) "Allergy Shots" (A.S.I.T. =Allergy Specific Immuno Therapy)

    • The atopic cat or dog receives weekly or biweekly/monthly injections of allergens that were positive on the allergy skin test. A good to excellent response is seen in 60-75% of atopic patients. The response is rarely seen in the first month of therapy. The majority will show improvement in the first 3-4 months. Some will show improvement after 6-12 months