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Reference Desk March 2012

As Pollen Counts Soar, Dermatology Specialists Help Pets Suffering From Allergies

    IRVINE, California, March 29, 2012—Animal Dermatology Clinic, the largest group of board certified veterinary dermatology specialists nationwide, sees increases in allergic symptoms in pets as pollen counts skyrocket. With seven full-time hospitals and 22 satellite locations the 21 doctors that makeup Animal Dermatology Clinic provide a variety of diagnostics and medical therapies to help pets who suffer from allergies.    

    Environmental allergies in dogs and cats most often cause atopic dermatitis, which presents for chronic itching, ear problems, and secondary skin infections. Similar to allergy in humans, environmental allergies in pets result from an inherited predisposition to develop reactions to allergens that do not induce problems in non-allergic pets. These same allergens that result in human allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma often cause pets to lick scratch or chew at their paws, ears, neck and face.   

    The most traditional and extensive test for environmental allergy testing in dogs is an intradermal skin test, testing for up to 82 allergens. When this test is performed, the patient is lightly sedated and then receives numerous tiny injections of various allergens, which may vary by region. These injections are then evaluated by the veterinary dermatologist for reactions.

    There are times when an intradermal skin test cannot be performed. This can occur because of risk of sedation, inability to withdraw from medications, or other causes. When this is the case, a blood test that measures levels of antibodies to a variety of allergens is performed. The results of a skin test are immediate and results from a blood test are generally available in 1-3 weeks.  After a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis has been made, the allergy tests are performed to determine the specific allergens the pet is allergic to and then antigen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) treatment injections (allergy shots) may be formulated.

    "Allergy testing is a great tool, but it is important for pet owners to understand that allergy shots are just one component that may be used in successful management of allergic skin disease," says Dr. Joel Griffies, board certified veterinary dermatologist in Marietta, Georgia. "Often a combination of injections, infection control and even diet management are needed to achieve a happy and itch-free patient."

    No two patients are alike. What works for one patient may be completely ineffective or not tolerated in another. Communication between the client, dermatologist and the veterinarian is key to the successful management of this complex condition.

    Founded in 1980 by Dr. Craig Griffin, Animal Dermatology Clinic has the distinction of being the first privately owned clinic approved by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology to provide a residency program, and is the largest group of veterinary dermatologists across the globe. Since 1980, Animal Dermatology Clinic has expanded to include seven full time clinics in California, Georgia, Kentucky and Indianapolis, twenty-two satellite locations throughout these areas, and more expansion is planned. For more information, please visit the website at http://www.animaldermatology.com.

    SOURCE Animal Dermatology Clinic


    Did you know... In both the US and Europe, approximately 50% of money spent on pets is used on regular visits to veterinarians and preventative measures. Read More

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