Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Drugs change helps pets with pollen allergies




i t t i n g e s t i m at i n g s e r v i c e

IT is only in the last few days that the weather seems to have warmed up a little and yet several of the Donaldson’s team have been complainin­g of hay fever over the last couple of weeks.

Acting as a sensitive barometer to the pollen count every year, I know that a few days after my colleagues start complainin­g of itchy eyes and runny noses, I am going to see the first cats and dogs of the season with allergic dermatitis and sure enough, this year was no exception.

Suddenly, during one busy morning surgery at the Maple Street clinic, I saw three dogs and two cats who were displaying signs that I associate with allergic sensitivit­y reactions resulting from contact with pollens.

The typical signs associated with allergies include excessive itching, scratching and grooming, rashes, sneezing, watery eyes, paw chewing, and skin inflammati­on. The medical term for these sort of allergic reactions is “atopic dermatitis”.

Dogs normally show signs of the disease between three months and six years of age, though atopic dermatitis can be so mild the first year that it does not become clinically apparent before the third year. Despite the fact dogs are more prone to atopic dermatitis than cats, it does occur in felines – as evidenced by the patients in my waiting room the other day.

The most commonly-affected areas are the ears, wrists, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin, around the eyes and in between the toes.

Often, the time of year and distributi­on of the itch is enough to raise a strong suspicion of atopy however

there are a variety of tests that can be performed to improve certainty.

Unfortunat­ely atopic dermatitis only rarely goes into remission or spontaneou­sly resolves so it is usually a matter of relieving the signs and reducing the irritation. Much of the physical changes in the skin such as hair loss and scabby skin, can be due to the self-trauma that animals inflict on themselves by licking, rubbing, scratching and chewing so treatment to reduce the itch will not only improve your pet’s quality of life, it will improve the physical signs of the disease.

There have been a number of new medicines in the last few years which have revolution­ised vets’ ability to treat these cases including a monoclonal antibody therapy, the first of this type of drug to hit the veterinary market.

Essentiall­y, this drug targets and neutralise­s a messenger called IL-31 which sends the itch signal to the brain.

It has minimal impact on the immune system and is converted into a harmless protein once it has done its job so it is really safe for patients.

With these new drugs in our kit bag, we are now able to successful­ly treat a great many pets that, even a couple of years ago, represente­d a really big challenge to manage.

 ??  ?? Dogs love being outside in the summer, but contact with pollen can cause skin complaints
Dogs love being outside in the summer, but contact with pollen can cause skin complaints
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Choice Design Quality
 ??  ?? Cats can also get atopic dermatitis
Cats can also get atopic dermatitis
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