Quick Facts: Atopic Dermatitis

Written by Tara Evans

Tara started her dream career in a mixed animal practice in Sussex in 2003. She qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2006 and continued to work in first opinion practice until she joined the Vita team in 2018. Her passion for the care and welfare of animals continues and couldn’t turn her back on veterinary nursing completely so continues to work regular shifts at a local first opinion practice.


What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is an inappropriate immune response to environmental substances that therefore causes inflammation of the skin.

Causes There is a genetic predisposition for atopic dermatitis. Several allergens can be responsible for triggering atopic dermatitis including grass, pollen, dust mites and storage mites.

Affected Animals

Any animal can be affected by atopic dermatitis but certain breeds such as West Highland White Terriers and Shar Peis are more prone to developing the disease.

Clinical Signs

Clinical signs include itching and can affect all areas of the animal especially ears, axillas (armpits), groin and limbs. Reddening of the skin, increased pigmentation, rashes and infection occurs due to the inflammatory process.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Diagnosis of atopic dermatitis can be difficult and involves identifying and treating any other potential contributing factors such as external parasites. There is no specific test for atopic dermatitis. Several treatment options are available and your veterinary surgeon will formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

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