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Common Health Problems in West Highland White Terriers and Schnauzers

Atopy, (dermatitis by inhalation) is an allergy that results from inhalation of pollen, dust or mold or any allergy born substance in the air.

In dogs, atopy symptoms usually show up on the back or belly as sores, scratching and hair loss

Symptoms are licking their paws until they are red, irritated and sore.

 

The paws are the only place where dogs have sweat glands and since they go into bushes and roads a dogs feet are likely to become inflamed by pollens.  Then the dog licks the feet and the pollen gets into the body.

Diagnosing atopy:

Faced with a dog that scratches, the owner should go to a veterinarian and have an annual exam.  This will rule out any diseases.

For really severe allergies, veterinarians will probably prescribe an antibiotic, a topical medication plus a medicated shampoo.

If the dog stops scratching, the hair begins to grow and he looks happier, you may have solved the problem.

He should recover fully within 4 weeks.

Testing for Allergy and Bacteria:

My vet does a full workup blood testing or commonly called a CBC.

Response to therapy:

Unfortunately, finding out what is causing the allergy is not that easy.

It may take lots of trial and error to pin point what is causing the allergy.  But once you do find out what it is, it will be worth it.

Treatment of allergy:

Most allergies can be effectively controlled with the following treatments.

  • Fatty acid supplement
  • Simple changes in diet
  • Treatments for dry skin, skin infections or allergies to flea bites, can solve these problems.
  • Hypoallergenic shampoo
  • Hydro-cortisone

Hydro-cortisone creams are usually used on the dogs body, where sores are present.  Between the toes on the belly and underneath the tail.

These products are not absorbed into the bloodstream when used in moderation does not create long-term effects

Fatty Acids:

Fatty acids have been recommended for years to improve the quality and brightness of hair and my vet has prescribed them for my dogs skin allergies.

The type of fatty acids includes linoleic (Omega 6) and linolenic (Omega 3).

The fatty acids employed in the skin helping to reduce the amount and effects of histamine which is released in response to allergies. 

Not all pets allergic response to fatty acids. But you may see  some improvements, others have a complete cure and others show no change.

Most dogs treated with fatty acids are given them daily for weeks or months to show significant improvement. They are very safe and are good for your dog.

When fatty acids are used with other treatments such as antihistamines the effects can be linked and the result is better. 

Vitamin B

B-complex vitamins have shown that dogs suffering from dry skin, seborrhea and skin rash improve when given B-Complex daily.  It is very safe and has no side effects and is not toxic.  Ask your vet what he recommends and dosage for your particular dog

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are widely used in both humans and animals.

Most antihistamines used in veterinary medicine are medicines that were developed for humans. I find that when my dog is itching because of flea histamines after I have gotten every single flea off of him, antihistamines make his life a whole lot better. 

I would not use them every day just as you should not be using them every single day.

 

There are side effects when using an antihistamine.

Common side effects include sleepiness, hyperness, constipation, dry mouth & lack of appetite.

Genetic factors:

Allergies are very common in some breeds of dogs.

  1. Lhasa Apso
  2. Setters
  3. Retrievers
  4. Dalmatians
  5. Pugs
  6. English Bulldog
  7. Miniature Schnauzer
  8. Scottish Terriers
  9. West Highland White Terrier
  10. Cairn Terriers

It is common to develop allergies to begin between three years old and up to 6 to 8 years so keep this in mind.  But 80% of dogs start earlier. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please Read

Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health, and fitness conditions of Westies and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing dog allergies - you should always consult your own veterinarian.