A Lifelong Commitment
Treating itchy pets can be resource- and time-consuming, frustrating pet owners and veterinary teams. Proper diagnosis of the pet’s skin condition is key to ensuring that the pet is receiving appropriate treatment. Equally important is clearly setting pet owner expectations about the management of these conditions, which can range from relatively easy to quite complex, with some diagnostic tests (and treatments) being repeated and some patients referred to a veterinary dermatologist. Management of allergic dermatitis is a lifelong commitment, and as veterinarians, we need to partner with pet owners by remaining alert to the onset of clinical signs that indicate a flare-up. The earlier these are detected, the better for the pet’s wellbeing.
Treating itchy pets can be resource- and time-consuming, frustrating pet owners and veterinary teams.
Our State of Pet Health Report’s primary goal is to raise awareness among pet owners of the need for regular preventive care and emphasize the role of veterinary care. This year’s report focused on client education to better understand these skin conditions, debunk common myths about itchy pets, and lay the groundwork for conversations with their veterinarians about how to approach treatment. As veterinary professionals, we know that client education and communication are the key components to pets receiving the best care and, therefore, the best outcomes. It is important that we remain up-to-date on the latest recommendations and treatment options, present a thorough diagnostic plan to ensure that treatment is addressing the right condition(s), set aside the time to get a thorough history (including what has already been tried), perform diagnostic tests, discuss with the owners the diagnosis and treatment plan, and set clear expectations for the immediate issue and the lifetime of the pet. These are the building blocks of a partnership between the client, pet, and veterinary team in managing the pet’s itchy condition.
Visit stateofpethealth.com for more information on Banfield’s State of Pet Health Report, including allergic dermatitis conditions, and to access client education tools.
- Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2018 State of Pet Health ® Report.
Dermatitis in Animals
, DVM, DACVD, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Inflammation of the skin can be produced by numerous agents, including external irritants, burns, allergens, trauma, and infection (bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal). It can be associated with concurrent internal or systemic disease hereditary factors also may be involved. Allergies form an important group of etiologic factors, especially in small animals.
The skin’s response to insult is generically called dermatitis and manifests as any combination of pruritus, scaling, erythema, thickening or lichenification of the skin, hyperpigmentation, oily seborrhea, odor, and hair loss.
The usual progression of a skin disease involves an underlying trigger (disease syndrome) that causes primary lesions such as papules, pustules, and vesicles. Pruritus is a common clinical sign in many diseases, and, in conditions that are not inherently pruritic, it is often present because of secondary infections or as a result of production of inflammatory mediators. As the inflammatory changes progress, crusting and scaling develop. If the process involves the deeper dermis, exudation, pain, and sloughing of the skin may occur.
Secondary bacterial and yeast infections commonly develop as a result of skin inflammation. As dermatitis becomes chronic, acute signs of inflammation (eg, erythema) subside and primary lesions become obscured by signs of chronic inflammation (thickening of the skin, hyperpigmentation, scaling, seborrhea). Often, the skin becomes drier if pruritus is not a component of the underlying trigger, it will often develop at this stage. Resolution of dermatitis requires identification of the underlying cause and treatment of secondary infections or other complications.
- All Pet Categories
- Advances in Medicine
- Cancer Care
- Diagnostic Laboratory
- Emergency/Critical Care
- General Care
- Grief Helpline
- Infectious Disease
- Internal Medicine
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Public Health
- Small Animal Surgery
CAD is a chronic, incurable, but manageable inflammatory and pruritic disease of the skin. Medications used to treat allergic skin disease mask clinical signs but do not change the disease process unless allergen-specific immunotherapy is implemented.
The article you have read has been submitted for RACE approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit and will be opened for enrollment when approval has been received. To receive credit, take the approved test online for free at vetfolio.com/journal-ce. Free registration on VetFolio.com is required. Questions and answers online may differ from those below. Tests are valid for 2 years from the date of approval.
- Oclacitinib is a novel
- Which of the following lesions and sites would be likely to be present in dog affected by flea allergy dermatitis?
a. Lichenification and scaling in the ventral neck
b. Recurrent otitis externa
c. Self-induced alopecia lumbosacral area, tail base, and caudomedial thighs
d. Erythematous papules in the interdigital areas
- Reactive treatment in atopic dermatitis means:
a. Treatment is applied continuously with daily frequency
b. Treatment is applied intermittently
c. Treatment is applied twice weekly only on weekends (Saturday, Sunday)
d. Treatment is applied only when clinical signs develop
- A 2-year-old castrated male dog, Leo, presents with nonseasonal signs of erythema, lichenification, and self-induced alopecia around the eyes, lips, concave pinnae, ventral neck, axillae, groin, and elbow folds. You suspect the patient may have CAD. For immediate treatment of acute flare of CAD, you would recommend:
- Which one of the following interventions (treatment or test) should be your next step for Leo?
a. Skin scrapes for Sarcoptes or Demodex species
b. Dietary restriction-provocation test (food trial)
d. Treatment with essential fatty acids
- Which diet would be the most suitable for a diet trial in a dog with a beef allergy?
b. Store-brand chicken-based diet
c. Kangaroo-based novel protein diet
- Which one of the following lesions and sites would be least likely to be present in a dog affected by classical CAD?
a. Lichenification in the groin
b. Self-induced alopecia on the dorsal thorax
c. Recurrent otitis externa
d. Erythematous macules, patches, and papules in the axillae
- Which of the following medications is the most appropriate for a 2-week treatment of acute CAD flare?
- Lokivetmab is a caninized monoclonal antibody against which cytokine?
- Proactive therapy is treatment that involves:
a. Low-dose, q12h continuous application of anti-inflammatory therapy to previously affected skin
b. Application of anti-inflammatory therapy applied only when skin lesions develop
c. Low-dose, intermittent application of anti-inflammatory therapy to previously affected skin
d. Low-dose application of anti-inflammatory therapy applied only when skin lesions develop