Changes of the skin and itches are symptoms that occur very often with our domestic animals. The animals scratch and nibble themselves all the time and then secondary changes like skin inflammation (pyoderma) occur. The causes are often very complex, which means that much time and special examinations are required in order to make the diagnosis. Pyoderma can be induced by different elicitors like bacteria, parasites (fleas, Demodex, Sarkoptes, cheyletiellosis), fungal infections (for example Malassezia) or autoimmune processes (pemphigus, Lupus complex). Often the skin is treated with corticosteroids in order to ease the symptoms of the itch. It is however important to identify the exact causes so the disease can be treated comprehensively.
In case of environmental allergies the allergens are ordinarily sickening for human beings and animals at the same time – according to the individual potential. The symptoms can occur during the whole year or only in specific periods, depending on whether it deals with pollen, grasses and trees or with house dust mites or mildew. The diagnosis can be made by different tests. An allergy screening can be executed as percutaneous or blood test. Whereas with the percutaneous test the single allergens are brought under the skin and the reaction (wheals) are read out later, in the blood the reactions of the antibodies on special allergens are measured. The treatment includes several aspects. It is not always possible to avoid the contact with the allergens totally which would be optimal. By means of the so called hyposensivity the body is made familiar with small quantities of the allergen whereby the allergen reaction shall be reduced. This treatment is in most cases associated and is done at least over one year. Also omega-3 fatty acids with the feeding and special skin shampoos can support the skin functions and ease the symptoms in addition.
The frequency of food allergies is constantly increasing. They are based on allergen reactions of the body to proteins in meat and cereals (rice, wheat, corn, soy and potatoes). Among the symptoms are itch and skin inflammation especially in the area of the ampits, the anus and the paws. In addition problems can occur in the gastro-intestinal system such as vomiting and recurrent diarrhea. One possibility of diagnosis is the execution of an elimination diet. Thereby the feeding will be reduced for at least 8 weeks to a defined source of protein. Ideal protein carriers are those, the animal did not get in touch before and therefore no allergy could develop: reindeer, duck, wild animals, tapioca. Often we recommend to prepare the meals by yourself. As an alternative also commercial hypoallergene diets are available. The diagnosis of the food allergy can also be made by an allergy test in the blood. This gives indications for allergen reactions on feeding ingredients that have to be avoided therefore in the feeding.
All this shows that skin diseases of our animals are very complex themes which can be ameliorated often by antibiotics and corticoids. In order to treat the complete problem and to avoid relapses it is useful to go different ways in the diagnostics.