Atopic dermatitis is a predisposition to develop allergic symptoms following exposure to substances that are usually harmless, but have triggered an allergic response. It is an inflammatory, chronic skin disease associated with allergies. Two of the most common offenders are dust mites and pollen, which are incredibly difficult for pets to avoid, since dust mites are virtually everywhere and pollen.
Atopy begins in dogs 1 to 3 years of age. Susceptible breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Wire Fox Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Dalmatians, Poodles, English Setters, Irish Setters, Boxers, and Bulldogs, among others, although any dog may be affected. Even mixed breeds may suffer from atopy.
The most common symptoms of canine atopic dermatitis include itching, excessive scratching, rubbing on the carpet, hair loss, greasy or flaky skin with a foul odor, excessive chewing on the paws and areas such as the groin and armpits, licking, specially around face, paws and under arms, sneezing and running nose.
Most affected areas by this disorder include Ears, wrists, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin, around the eyes, in between the toes.