ATOPIC dermatitis is a syndrome characterised by chronic itchy and inflamed skin which causes great distress to sufferers and concern to owners. Atopy is second only to fleas as a cause of skin disease in dogs and accounts for about 50 per cent of the author's referral caseload. Atopic dermatitis is also recognised in cats, and has been reported in horses and goats. It is usually associated with a hypersensitivity reaction to environmental allergens that are of little clinical significance in normal animals. Successful management of atopic dermatitis requires the implementation of several strategies, tailored to the individual patient. This article discusses the practicalities of, and underlying rationale for, currently recommended treatment regimens.
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