Canine allergic disease (atopy) often presents as a skin disease, or canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). Between 3% and 15% of dogs suffer from an atopic condition. It is hereditary to pollen of some plants (for example grasses, weeds, trees), fungi or various dust and storage mites.
Dog allergy symptoms
The most obvious sign of an atopic condition is itching. This is caused by inflammatory skin typically on the paws, head, armpit or groin. Dogs often lick or bite their feet and can be seen rubbing their heads along the floor or other objects. This often results in hair loss, ear infections and secondary infections. The skin inflammation can be exacerbated by bacterial (Staphylococcus) or yeast (Malassezia) infections, which also require treatment. Occasionally, allergic dogs will develop watery eyes, sneezing or asthma. Sometimes digestive symptoms appear. The symptoms in an atopic dog usually manifest themselves before 3 years of age.
Predisposed dog breeds
Any dog can develop atopy but certain breeds are at a higher risk. Such breeds include the Lhasa Apso, Schnauzer, Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Bulldog, English Setter, Irish Setter and Chihuahua.