You need to see a dermatologist if your pet:
Increased itching, licking or rubbing
Recurrent ear infections
An odor of the skin
Nail or paw problems
Has been diagnosed with an auto-immune skin disease
Has a poor hair coat
Allergies are the most common cause of skin problems in dogs and cats. An estimated 1 out of 5 domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, suffer from some form of allergy. Dogs and cats can suffer the discomfort from allergies in different ways, such as itching, skin irritation, or secondary skin and ear infections caused by a sensitivity to a specific allergen.
Atopic Dermatitis is associated with environmental pollens, molds, house dust, and other common airborne substances. The first signs of atopic dermatitis usually are skin irritations in which mild cases may cause only slight itching during a short time of the year. Unfortunately, some cases progress to severe, often continuous scratching, licking, biting, and rubbing, which often lead to more complicated infections.
Food Allergies can show themselves as skin irritations but may also be expressed by vomiting and diarrhea. The clinical signs may be sudden in onset and are virtually indistinguishable from those seen in atopic dermatitis.
Flea Allergic Dermatitis is the most common allergy seen in dogs, and it is one of the itchiest diseases encountered. A majority of flea allergic dogs will also suffer from atopic dermatitis. An allergic flea dog can suffer from extreme discomfort associated with a single flea bite and can continue to cause itching from that one bite for up to three weeks. Itching, redness, small bumps, and self-induced trauma result.
Intradermal Allergy Test (Skin Test) and Serum Allergy Test (Blood Test) are the two ways a veterinary dermatologist would test your pet for atopy allergies. Although serum testing is more convenient than intradermal testing, intradermal testing is more accurate and has a higher success rate. When we perform an intradermal test, we test for over 70 individual allergens. It is the most precise method of testing for allergies. If the allergy test confirms your pet is suffering from allergies, the dermatologist would recommend starting your pet on Immunotherapy.
A hypoallergenic diet is a strict diet the dermatologist would recommend if a food allergy is suspected in your pet. Although food allergy is relatively a rare disease, your pet could become allergic to foods even after eating the same food for many years. A food allergy is generally caused by the protein source in foods such as beef, chicken, dairy, and corn pork products. Because an animal can only be allergic to a substance the animal has eaten in the past, the veterinary dermatologist would recommend a diet that consists of a substance the animal has not eaten before. A properly performed hypoallergenic dietary trial is the most appropriate test for diagnosing food allergy. Most veterinary dermatologists do not recommend blood tests or skin tests for the diagnosis of food allergy. Before initiating a hypoallergenic diet, a pet owner must understand that it is a true diagnostic test and should not be undertaken without conviction.