Itchy Dogs Diagnosed

It was a good working theory, even if it didn’t work out.

On June 18, 2010, we ran a story about Annie

Annie no longer suffers from her Atopy, thanks to medication.
Annie no longer suffers from her Atopy, thanks to medication.

and two other pets in her household who were itchy. That day we could find nothing on Annie’s physical examination to indicate a cause for her itchiness. She exhibited no hair loss or lesions and there was no pattern to her scratching that would lead us to suspect known syndromes associated with itchiness.

For cost reasons, Annie’s owner elected to bring only one of the pets in hopes that “they might all have the same thing.”

Annie’s visit was shortly after the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak and our list of differential diagnoses included oil fumes from the leak and burning oil and gas that sometimes permeated the air here.

Now those fumes are a distant memory and oil findings are limited to remote areas still being cleaned by BP crews.

Annie, however, is still itchy. Indeed, she hasn’t become any less itchy since her June visit.

This week we found ourselves evaluating Annie and her housemate, Misty, another dog who had been scratching in June and whose itchiness has gotten worse.

Time was the friend of diagnosis and a clear pattern emerged on Annie, proving that one of the differentials on our list was correct: Annie has Atopy, a common allergy problem you can learn about here.

Misty, on the other hand, was also afflicted with an allergy problem, but of a different nature. Misty was suffering from Flea Bite Allergy.

You can see Misty's hair is short where she has been chewing above her tail.
You can see Misty’s hair is short where she has been chewing above her tail.

 Also common, affecting about 10% of the dog population, you can learn all about Flea Bite Allergy in this post.

Each dog had an allergy-blocking injection, antibiotics for the bacterial infection, pyoderma, that frequently accompanies skin inflammation and safe, long-term oral allergy-blocking medication.

We are fortunate here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that the Deepwater Horizon well has been capped and sealed, it has been months since we have had fumes in the air and oil-devouring microbes are consuming petroleum at a fascinating rate. Our beaches are clean and ready for Labor Day visitors.

It would have been nice for Annie and Misty to have been itchy from oil fumes. They wouldn’t be scratching today if that had been the case. Instead, they have allergies they will always have to deal with.

And modern medicine has controls that will keep them comfortable.

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