ENVIRONMENTAL/ INHALANT ALLERGIES
Atopy is an intensely itchy skin condition. It is a hypersensitivity to inhaled environmental allergens such as pollens(grass, weed, and tree), mold spores, and house dust mites. Symptoms may include itchy skin, red, inflamed or infected ears, gastrointestinal disorders, reproductive and eye problems. Atopy can be inherited and is the cause of up to 30% of canine skin disease in our area. Warm, humid environments, with lush flora as in the South increase the problem. Seasonal allergies may become non seasonal (year round). Symptoms of atopy usually present at 1-2 years of age, but can be seen as early as 6 months or as late as 7 yrs. The condition worsens with age. Treatment initially involves antihistamine therapy or desensititization with “Allergy Shots.” Only as a last resort is steroid therapy used. Mange, fleas, food allergy and fungal diseases must be ruled out prior to diagnosing Atopy. Through skin and blood tests, Dermatologists can compound a desensitizing “allergy shot” (anti antigen serum) that can actually cure the disease. Skin testing is the most effective means of cure, steroids only control the symptoms and can cause undesirable side effects.