Future looks promising for relieving itchiness in dogs

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dog scratching itself
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New treatments for a disease that causes chronic itching and irritation in dogs could be just around the corner, according to animal dermatology expert, Dr Mike Shipstone.

Speaking at last week’s ASAVA Conference on the Gold Coast, Dr Shipstone from Dermatology for Animals in Brisbane, canvassed a range of emerging therapies that could provide better long-term control of atopic dermatitis—a seemingly incurable skin disease that afflicts some breeds more than others, including Staffordshire bull terriers, Labradors, German Shepherds, Beagles and Westies.

“Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease usually associated with allergies such as dust, food, pollens, mould and insects,” said Dr Shipstone, adding that vets also encounter dogs “without confirmed allergies that are still biting, scratching, rubbing and gnawing. So, if it’s not allergies, what’s causing it? And is it breed specific?

“It’s a complex disease which is as equally complex to successfully treat. Treatment needs to be based on each individual case rather than following any one simple ‘recipe’.”

Dr Shiptone referred to the multiple treatment options available to help control atopic dermatitis including immunotherapy, steroids and antibiotics. However, not all are suitable or effective, he said.

It is hoped that ongoing research in the area—investigating new targets for therapy aimed at controlling the immune system’s response to allergies—will lead to better treatments.

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