Environmental allergies are caused by substances like pollen, mold, or dust mites, and can lead to atopic dermatitis. This allergic skin reaction results in itching, redness, and inflammation.
How environmental allergies can damage a dog’s skin
Allergies to substances in the environment (atopy) can manifest as skin lesions in dogs. A dog’s immune system can become dysregulated and overreacts to airborne or contact allergens. This overreaction produces skin inflammation in the form of itchiness, redness, and heat.
Excessive rubbing and irritation can lead to hair loss and the breakdown of the skin barrier which allows bacteria to overpopulate and cause secondary infections, resulting in further damage to the skin barrier.
Pictures of skin issues due to environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis)
Treatment & management of the condition
Atopic dermatitis is best managed using a multimodal approach. There are tests available to help determine which allergens should be incorporated into the allergen-specific immunotherapy (e.g., allergy shots or sublingual dosing).
Atopic disease is managed, not cured.
Avoidance is usually not effective as a sole approach, but you should still try removing the allergen from the dog’s environment. When this is not possible, prescription allergy medications (cyclosporine, oclacitinib, and lokivetman) should be considered.
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