Author: Diane R MitchellOriginally Published in GPSSC Der Schnurrbart Fall 2008 issue
Although rare in standard schnauzers, some of our breed can end up with atopical dermatitis. Atopical dermatitis is a disease that causes a dog's skin to itch. You might find that your dog’s itching is causing sore spots or loss of hair. This disease can be caused by many things including skin allergies, fleas, and dust mites. How do you know if your dog has this disease? If your dog is scratching, don't panic. This is a sign of atopical dermatitis, but keep in mind some scratching is normal. Most dogs who have this illness will scratch excessively. If you suspect that your dog may have atopical dermatitis, you should take him/her to the veterinarian. If the cost of a visit is concerning to you, there are some simple things you can do to try to help your beloved pet. First make certain your pet does not have fleas. I recommend year round flea control that you can get from your vet. There are also several good flea shampoos. Once you have determined that fleas are not an issue, consider the food you are feeding your pet. Food allergies may not be the number one cause of atopical dimities, but it is something you can check simply by changing food for a while. If you decide to change food make sure you check ingredients on both the old and new foods. You want as different main ingredients as you can and remember to change the food gradually.Once you have determined that food was the problem, you can slowly add the foods that were in the original food until you find the one that caused the problem. Realize that it can take up to six weeks to see a change in your dogs skin when changing food. If the problem is not fleas or food, then it could be something in the house or outside. One of the major causes of allergic reactions in dogs is any kind of chemical you may have put on your lawn. The good news is if this was the problem, then you just have to not spay your lawn anymore. This may mean you need to sacrifice your perfect lawn for the health of your pet. Dust mites inside your house can also be the cause. So, try cleaning up your house a bit more without using any harsh chemicals that say they may be harmful to small pets. These are just some of the ways that a dog can end up with atopical dermatitis. It is always best to ask a veterinarian if your dog has skin issues. Determining what is causing the skin issue can take a person a very long time where the vet can run some tests on the skin that will speed up the process.