AKC Gazette: Sept. 1990, pp. 94-101
Comments in italics are the reviewer's and not turn, aggravates the itching sensation so that
an itch-scratch-infection-itch cycle occurs.)
(All Dalmatian breeders and owners should
(Dals with AID will show symptoms at
memorize this article! It is perhaps the most
various times and for various durations. If
thorough and definitive one on the subject I've
they are allergic only to one or two species of
read in recent years, and is written in terms
"hay fever plants" (certain trees, grasses,
understandable to non-vet readers. It supports
weeds), they will itch seasonally only when
what I've personally suspected for some time,
those plant species are blooming and
namely that many if not most of Dalmatians'
pollinating. If they are allergic to many
skin problems start out with an allergic
species of trees and of grasses and of weeds
reaction. If you can "break" the chain
whose pollinating cycles overlap, the itching
reaction early enough, I believe a lot of
can extend for months or even most of the
resulting complications of the allergic reaction
can be aborted before they take hold, such as
infections, loss of hair, and scar tissue.)

Molds and house dust are other airborne allergens creating itching in dogs, Dr. Acker- Dr. Ackerman cites the two most common types of dog skin allergy excluding that due to fleas: aggravating factor (allergic Dals do better in
90 percent of them are called "allergic inhalant dehumidified air-conditioning.). In terms of
dermatitis" or AID (in humans, called "hay heredity, he suggests AID will be passed on if fever" or "atopy") and the remaining 10 percent both dam and sire have them, food allergy not.
AID can be accurately diagnosed, he states, by Airborne pollens are breathed in ("inhalant") by skin testing. The hair is shaved in an area, humans allergic to them and induce reactions marked with a checkerboard stamp and then within their breathing system such as the injected with known allergenic substances. Hives will appear almost immediately in Dogs, he explains, breathe in the airborne reaction to those specific substances which allergens which do not cause sneezing as in confirms them as the offending allergens. The allergic symptoms include the dog scratching, inventory of substances to remove from the chewing or biting generally at their feet but also at sites all over the body especially armpits, groin and flanks. Recurrent ear infections also Food allergy is more difficult to detect those are a very frequent result of AID, he says.
individual foods being allergenic but he details the lengthy procedures. Skin symptoms of food (The "chain" reaction: if the allergy-induced allergy mimic those of AID but, additionally, itching is left untreated or not noticed, the uninterrupted scratching and biting ultimately gastrointestinal, neurological and respiratory breaks the protective surface of the skin. systems (symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, Bacteria then invade those openings creating a anal itch, passing of gas, sneezing, asthma-like "secondary" skin infection superimposed ontop symptoms, behavior changes and seizures).
the allergic reaction. The skin infection, in
Dr. Ackerman details various treatments of both
types of allergy and cautions against the longterm
(and indiscriminate) use of steroids such as
(I have had success with antihistamines such as
Chlor-Trimeton® or
Benadryl® available now
without a prescription, which I give the minute I
notice my Dals starting to scratch or bite
frequently and certainly more than is usual and
normal. If they do not significantly stop
scratching or biting within 48 to 72 hours of
receiving the antihistamine, I assume it is not
AID and stop the medication. If they visibly do
stop significantly, I continue the pills for 10 days
to 2 weeks, stop them and watch if the itching
and biting recur. If they do, I then see my vet
before continuing the medication
indiscriminately. But this technique has
definitely aborted the "chain" reaction by
stopping the scratching and biting before the
skin is broken and infection sets in. On the
other hand, this must not be considered a
guaranteed panacea nor a simple "quick-'n-
dirty" solution to all itching and biting. When in
doubt, check with your vet !)

Incidentally, Dr. Ackerman notes that
antihistamines are successful only in about one-
third of dogs with AID.

Reviewed by:Carroll H. [email protected]



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