Lucy is a 4 year old terrier who belongs to Veterinary Nurse Jessica.
She was initially brought into Cogges as a stray, with multiple health problems including very bad skin. Unfortunately, although she recovered well from the majority of her heath problems, she is still an itchy dog. She has had recurrent mild ear infections, often scoots along the ground even when her anal glands aren’t full, and chews at her paws.
A blood test sent for allergy screening showed that Lucy had multiple positive and borderline reactions to various grasses, weeds, trees, dust/storage mites and fungi. Based on these findings, the lab were able to formulate an immunotherapy programme for her. The programme is ongoing, and consists of a course of injections that gradually desensitise Lucy’s immune system to the allergens she reacts to. She started her immunotherapy treatment in April 2015 and has had a very good response so far.
Unfortunately allergic skin disease cannot be cured, it can only be managed. This means that Lucy will be having immunotherapy injections for the rest of her life. Even with this treatment, she still occasionally has flare-ups and needs treatment for specific infections or particularly itchy areas. Jessica is also careful to keep Lucy’s flea treatment up to date, as fleas can be a trigger for itching.
Signs of allergic skin disease may be subtle to start with, but can progress over time. The symptoms tend to be worse in spring and early summer when many plant species are pollinating – similar to the pattern of human hayfever.
If you have a pet with itchy skin, whether it manifests itself as nibbling the feet, head shaking and scratching, scooting, or all-over scratching, please make an appointment to discuss suitable treatment options.