What makes dogs itch?

Dogs are taken to veterinarians for itching more than for any other medical problem. But what makes dogs itch?  While there are many possible causes, most dogs that are itchy suffer from one of these six conditions:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis
FAD distribution
Flea allergy dermatitis distribution
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Food allergy dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Sarcoptic mange
  • Demodectic mange

To take a quick look at the body locations commonly affected, the symptoms, and the types of lesions associated with each of these conditions, check out www.itchology.com. Itchology is the app for dedicated pet parents to mange their itchy dogs.

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Apoquel: a new drug for dogs with allergic dermatitis

By Jon Plant, DVM, DACVD

If you are a pet owner who would like to learn more about Apoquel (oclacitinib), here are some resources to check out:

1. Apoquel: will it live up to expectations?

2. Apoquel safety: how Apoquel is like fine wine – Part 1

3. Apoquel safety: how Apoquel is like fine wine – Part 2

4. Zoetis’s Pet Owner Brochure for Apoquel

Picture1As a practicing veterinary dermatologist, I feel fortunate to have a new drug at our disposal that works so well. But, it is a drug that needs to be used correctly and under close veterinary supervision.  Contact your primary care veterinarian or find a board-certified veterinary dermatologist at http://www.acvd.org who can determine whether Apoquel is right for your dog.  It is not approved for dogs under 12 months nor for cats.

My favorite flea products for dogs

Protecting your dog from fleas is much easier than it was 20 years ago. Back then, the best we could do was knock the flea numbers down, but it was challenging with the products that were available.  Lately, the problem is knowing which of the many products out there is right for your dog. I’ll give you my 3 favorites, starting this week with number 3:

Vectra 3D is at the top of my list for topical products (spoiler alert: the top two are given orally). It combats fleas (plus ticks and mosquitoes) on three fronts:

1.  One ingredient (dinotefuran) over-stimulates the fleas’ nervous system. It acts on an insect nervous system receptor, leaving a wide margin of safety for mammals.

2. The second ingredient is permethrin, which helps repel mosquitoes, kill ticks, and fleas.

3. The third ingredient is an “insect growth regulator” called pyriproxyfen.  This ensures that even if eggs are laid by a few surviving fleas, they will not result in an infestation.

Vectra 3D is quite safe for most dogs if applied according to the label, but always consult with your veterinarian for recommendations concerning your individual dog.