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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28596
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My german shepherd has allergies to dust and storage mites,

Customer Question

My german shepherd has allergies to dust and storage mites, slight reaction to few trees. He is on piriton and i think ive done as much as i can to clean up his home environment (wet wiping floors daily, dust mite proof covers now used, steam mop used daily, air sanitisers installed but his itchiness is becoming worse and now nibbling his front and rear legs despite all im doing. What else can i do? He is 2 years old and eats raw meaty bones, i also have just included salmon oil into his daily diet as ive heard that is good. Ive sprayed the house, got rid of carpets, rugs, sofa cushions. I would like to know what else can be done, my poor little boy is not happy.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I understand your frustration. Antihistamines haven't been found to be reliably effective in these atopic dogs. Studies suggest that just 10-30% of dogs benefit from antihistamine therapy and this vet believes that those dogs that do respond positively are sedated by the antihistamine to the point at which they sleep rather than scratch.

Atopy describes allergies to environmental allergens as you mentioned. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib is likely to revolutionize how we treat atopic dogs such as Sam. Please ask Sam's vet about this therapy. We're having trouble keeping this drug in stock but perhaps Sam's vet is lucky enough to have oclacitinib in stock.

If not, a short course of a glucocorticosteroid such as the prescription prednisone usually does wonders for these patients. Bathing in a hypoallergenic shampoo twice weekly will remove offending allergens from Sam's skin and help control his pruritis (itching). The essential fatty acids in that salmon oil may be helpful as well. Patience is required as it usually takes 8-12 weeks for these oils to kick in. I dose these supplements at 45mg/kg of the EPA in the salmon oil daily. You should find the amount of EPA on your salmon oil product's label.

You do have the option of having a hyposensitizing serum ("allergy shots") produced now that you know what Sam is allergic to. This therapy is successful in up to 75% of dogs. Finally, another immunosuppressive drug other than prednisone might be considered. Cyclosporin (Atopica) is our usual choice.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My vet has mentioned Atopica but he said no new dogs are allowed to go on the drug! But he will try to see if he can get it for Sam. I am a little worried in case there are long term side effects but i also dont want a miserable doggie. Does smoking in the house affect dogs like Sam too?

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
We don't have any restrictions on the use of Atopica in dogs here in the States. Perhaps this is something peculiar to the UK? I'd appreciate your finding this out for me because I speak with UK customers regularly.

A number of studies in humans has shown that smokers had significantly higher IgE serum levels (one of the immunoglobulins associated with allergies) than reformed smokers and non-smokers. Smoking seems to induce an atopic orientation and allergen sensitization in individuals. I don't know of any such studies in dogs but I would assume that we'd find the same increase in those immunoglobulins.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.