One week and one day after celebrating that Mya's allergies have subsided, we are now facing this much dreaded word, "atopy". I guess it's official... Vet diagnosis is in. Should have been simple to treat with Cyclosporin, but due to a history of high Creatinin and BUN levels, we need to nurse her kidneys and we will be going the long route. We will continue the long process of trial and error to find her allergen/s.
What is Atopy?
Atopy is the same as atopic dermatitis (allergic dermatitis, canine atopy). It is an inherited predisposition to develop allergic symptoms following repeated exposure to some otherwise harmless substance. This disease is hereditary in nature and affects many breeds.
Treatment Options Include...
1. Avoidance of Allergen- easy to say but hard to do, specially when the allergen is unknown. It may be food-realated or environmental, but actually finding out what it is requires a systemized trial and error process and record-keeping. Sometimes, when the allergen is environmental, it may not even be possible to eliminante completely (like human dander).
2. Antihistamines- like Iterax, etc. helps to control itch but causes drowsiness as well. (short term effect)
3. Steroids (Topical and/or Oral)- Oral steroids are used only when necessary as it can cause adverse side effects. Topical steroids are said to be safer.
4. Immuno-therapy- Once the allergen has been identified, immuno-therapy can be done. It aims to desensitize the dog's immune system from the allergen.
5. Fatty Acid supplements- This is supposed to help in restoring or maintaining the integrity of the skin, as well as to naturally avoid dryness. (Mya is on Cod liver oil, but we will be changing this to a more skin-specific source from Healthy Options)
6. Moisturizing Baths- Soothes the skin and helps avoid dryness which exacerbates the skin condition during atopy flare-ups (I'm dying to let Mya try the Aveeno Colloidal Oatmeal bath, which a fellow-shiba owner in Dogster was raving about)
7. Cyclosporine and Other Similar Drugs- suppresses the immune system so as not to recognize and "over-react" when exposed to allergens.
For a more informational reference that is short and reader-friendly, I recommend this article from VeterinaryPartner.com