Dealing with seasonal allergies - Veterinary Practice
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Dealing with seasonal allergies

IAN WILLIAMS in the fourth in a series from Royal Canin, looks at what can be done to support pets with seasonal allergies – with National Allergy Week running at the end of April in mind

AN estimated one in four veterinary consults relates to skin disease, and skin conditions unrelated to adverse food reactions, such as canine atopic dermatitis, affect approximately 1 in 10 of the total canine population.

Very few clients, however, are aware that their pets can spend the spring season feeling miserable due to pollens and other environmental allergens.

Breeds, such as the Boxer, West Highland White Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Cairn Terrier and Fox Terrier are suspected to be genetically predisposed to atopy but the condition can affect a wide variety of breeds.


Diagnosis and management can be difficult – with parasites, infections and food allergies needing to be ruled out first. Atopy usually develops first during early adulthood, often causing mild seasonal symptoms initially but then developing in severity over the years.

Although atopy is not usually resolved, prescribed treatments can be very successful in reducing the symptoms, with food additionally playing an important role in the management process.

Skin care diets exist which are specifically designed to help in the nutritional management of dogs with atopic dermatitis.

Diet for life

They can be fed at the first appearance of clinical signs, with effects usually being seen within two months. However, it is common in cases of chronic disease, that such diets are maintained for the dog’s entire lifetime.

Such diets are formulated to support the skin’s natural functions using the synergistic action of a combination of essential fatty acids from linseed, soya, borage and fish oils.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help maintain skin health and it is suggested that a sufficient intake of these fatty acids can reduce the risk of skin irritation.

Royal Canin’s own Skin Care range also contains a high level of biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid, combined with a zinc-linoleic acid blend, which is designed to decrease transepidermal water loss and support the skin barrier effect.


These diets also contain a synergistic antioxidant complex which helps to neutralise free radicals.

All these developments in skin care nutrition are testament to the fact that veterinarians are being presented with an increasingly large volume of skin cases in general practice.

This necessitates a certain level of expertise in small animal dermatology and advances in nutrition aim to provide a valuable and often cost-effective option for the nutritional management of dogs with common skin problems.

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