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Raising Awareness – Allergic Dermatitis
Pet Insurance Australia (PIA) is on a mission to raise awareness of skin conditions in companion animals.
“It’s a significant problem for many pets around Australia,” Nadia Crighton Spokesperson for PIA says. “However, in many circumstances these can be easily controlled with good veterinary care.”
The costs alone are staggering. It is estimated that pet owners spend an approximate $1.7 billon on veterinary services each year.
“Treatments for skin conditions is one of largest issues pet-owners claim against,” Crighton says. “This cost would certainly be contributing to the amount pet-owners spend at the local veterinary clinic each year.”
In 2014 Pet Insurance Australia had over 2,844 claims with a payout of $608,793 for skin conditions alone.
But why are skin conditions a big problem in Australia?
Well-known veterinarian and television personality, Dr Rob Zammit, from Vineyard Veterinary Hospital in NSW, agrees that skin conditions are a problem for many Australian pets. “They have always been present because of our hot, humid climate and the plants in our area.”
Dr Zammit also points to some of the offending plants including; jasmine, ivy, potato vine or the noxious vines such as wandering-jew, which are prevalent in many areas.
“Every vine will cause dogs to scratch,” Dr Zammit says. “Grasses such as Buffalo (including soft-leaf buffalo) as well as paspalum, all cause allergic dermatitis.”
The good news is allergic dermatitis and, other skin issues are all controllable.
Dr Zammit reminds the public that treating allergies in pets is an ongoing affair.
“People expect a cure – one off treatment then it never returns. Think about kids with nut allergy – you can’t give them something and the allergy is gone forever and it’s the same with dogs and skin issues. You need to learn to control it.”
Dr Zammit says there is a place for home remedies as they will help, however nothing will cure the problem completely.
“I tell my clients to place their dogs on Coconut oil and Evening Primrose Oil,” Dr Zammit says. “Also bath in Pine Tarsol or Selsun Gold or Alpha Keri. All these things help, but not in the face of the dog contacting the allergens.”
On-going veterinary care including the use of antibiotics and steroids can also assist control allergies with great success.
“Each vet may have a different regime but done properly, you can minimise side-effects and maximise benefits.”
Other skin problems include hormonal alopecia, mites and pyoderma but allergic dermatitis is still the main diagnosis causing skin irritation.
All can be treated successfully in 99% of cases.
“Getting in the habit of a good weekly coat check can ensure you discover a skin problems before it gets out-of-hand can help immensely,” Crighton adds. “Weekly grooming, and watching your animal for a change in behaviour can help you keep on top of problematic skin.”
Indications of skin problems
- Biting or chewing areas
- Dry flakey skin
- Hairless patches
- Ear flapping
Nadia Crighton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contact information: Nadia Crighton, Pet Insurance Australia, 95 Sixth Road, Berkshire Park, New South Wales 2765