There has been an exciting new breakthrough in treating itchy dogs, and your veterinarians at The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt are up to date on this cutting edge therapy! At a recent continuing education event, your vets learned the ins and outs of an antibody therapy that is used to treat atopic dermatitis (commonly referred to as environmental allergies). Atopic dermatitis is one of the leading causes of itchiness in dogs and is actually way more common than food allergies.
Itchiness is the hallmark symptom of atopic dermatitis. Your dog may manifest this itch by scratching, licking, or chewing on himself. Oftentimes, when this happens, a bacterial or yeast infection will occur at the site where the patient has caused trauma to the skin. This situation is sometimes called a hot-spot. The infection makes them more itchy and the cycle repeats. Stopping the itch is an important part of treating the disease.
When dogs with atopic dermatitis are suffering from a flare-up, part of the immune system in the skin sends a chemical signal to the surrounding nerves. The signal is then carried to the brain, causing the sensation of itch. The new therapy works by blocking a certain molecule that the body releases in response to an itch stimulus, thus preventing the sensation of itch from occurring in the first place.
The specificity of this approach is so targeted that it does not affect other biologic processes, unlike steroids or other treatments for itch. Because this therapy is so pin-pointed, it is safe to use with other medications, and there are no restrictions on patient eligibility based on age or other medical conditions. Another benefit is in the way it is given. Your dog just needs one injection for four to eight weeks of relief. No at-home medication administration is needed.
Atopic dermatitis is not the only cause of itch in dogs, so we will want to make sure we have assessed your dog for other medical issues. We have already had early success stories with this treatment with one pet owner saying that over several years of trying different therapies, this is the only one that has provided significant relief. In North Carolina, allergy season is just around the corner so if your dog is bothered by seasonal allergies, let’s make this their most comfortable year yet! Make your appointment today.