We humans are very meticulous when it comes to our skin and taking care of it. We use several products just so we can achieve that healthy soft skin that all of us are aiming to have. We take good care of our skin because if we don’t we might be vulnerable to skin irritations caused by allergens that are present in the environment.
Do you know that our furry friends can react to allergens too? Yes, dogs can have skin allergies too! In fact, some of them experience a kind of skin irritation because it has been programmed in their DNA to react that way to certain kinds of allergens. This kind of skin infection is called atopy.
Unlike us, dogs can’t take care of their own skin with the same meticulousness that we practice over our own skin. That is why you need to help them win the battle against atopy. Find out everything that you have to learn about this skin problem so that you can protect your trusty Labrador from this skin disease.
What exactly is atopy?
Atopy or canine atopic dermatitis is a congenital skin disease. This means that some of your dogs already have a predisposition to develop this condition during birth. Atopy in Labradors ranks the second most widespread skin allergy that targets dogs next to skin flea allergy. This may be so but this skin disease is still a force to be reckoned with since it is said to affect more or less 10 percent of dogs.
This disease can also be passed on to pups so, if you are breeding your Labradors, be sure that you are not mating your pet with a dog that has the genes for atopy.
What causes Atopy in Labradors?
Atopy in Labradors is mainly caused by the reaction of the immune system of your dog to the allergens present in the environment which your dog accidentally inhaled or absorbed in their skin. What happens is that the immune system becomes haywire and over reacts to these allergens causing irritation to the skin.
How will I know if my Labrador has this?
You will know that your beloved pet dog has atopy when you notice that he or she has the following symptoms:
- You dog might experience excessive itching – If your dog cannot settle down because he or she is busy trying to relieve himself or herself from the extreme itch or if he or she is busy scratching all over his or her body, you might want to see the veterinarian to see if your dog really has atopy. You can also notice where your dog is constantly scratching. Is it in the armpits? The ears? The face? Its paws? Its groin? Or its belly? These regions are the usual places where a dog with atopy constantly scratches.
- It may suddenly want to scratch its face on surfaces all the time – Your dog will do this in order to relieve the itchy feeling.
- Excessive licking and chewing of body parts. – This is your beloved dog’s other way of getting rid of the itchiness.
- You dog might have reddened ears.
- Skin mutilation
When your dog turns 6 months, you need to start looking for signs of atopy since the symptoms usually onset during a dog’s sixth month up to its 3rd year. The appearance of the symptoms may be infrequent at first but as your dog grows older, it will become more recurrent.
How can you treat atopy?
The unfortunate thing about atopy is that there are still no known cures and medications to stop it from developing or occurring. However, there are drugs and medicines that will relieve your dog from the symptoms of atopy and prevent the exacerbation of the itchiness that they can feel. Some of these drugs include antihistamines that will manage the itchiness. You can also use Corticosteroids are very effective in stopping itch but you have to be careful in using this since it has serious side effects.
You can also prevent your Labrador from itchiness by ensuring that you bathe them after they went outside so that you can take out that pollens and allergens that might have stuck in their fur.