Do you know a PPAWE?
We’ve heard of the JAMs (just about managing) and the DINKYs (double income, no kids yet) but let’s claim a new one for the vet profession – the PPAWEs (pet parent, at wit’s end) to describe clients with itchy dogs. What can we do to help?
Awake as their dog itches and scratches all night and unable to find a way to help, owners of atopic dogs quite quickly become worn down and worn out. Treatment might manage rather than cure the condition and even expensive immunotherapy doesn’t always deliver the remission that many hope for. It can be useful just to recap and review these difficult cases from time to time.
- Is there any additional information that has come to light that might help to identify possible allergens that could be avoided? Keeping a weekly spreadsheet of flare ups and charting peak incidents through the year may provide some clues.
- Have all environmental sources of irritants and allergens been addressed? How is bedding washed? Has the owner experimented with new types of bedding or floor coverings? Is there an improvement if the pet is confined to one room with fewer soft furnishings?
- Is the owner adhering to year-round parasite control recommendations?
- Would the patient benefit from bathing to cool or soothe the skin and reduce allergen build up on the coat, or is an antibacterial shampoo indicated for bacterial overgrowth? What about a lipid based shampoo to support the altered epidermal barrier?
- Nutrition – is there any evidence of allergy and has an elimination diet been used to try and identify potential allergens?
- Is medication being regularly reviewed to see if intermittent therapy can control the signs sufficiently? Are there any novel or emerging therapies that could be useful? What about combination treatments? Have antihistamines been used, as these are now thought to benefit some patients? What about topical sprays?
- Is the patient being supplemented with essential fatty acids?
Can EFA supplementation really make a difference?
Alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an Omega-3 fatty acid, is fragile and easily oxidised during processing or prolonged storage periods, affecting dry foods in particular. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in Salmon oil, act through modulating eicosanoid production in response to stimuli and omega-6 EFAs also play a valuable role in preserving the skin barrier. LA (linoleic acid) from vegetable oil is an integral part of the ceramides composing the lipid layers in the skin and GLA (gamma linolenic acid) found in Starflower oil aids the skin zones natural anti- inflammatory process.
Preserving the integrity of the skin barrier and controlling trans-epidermal water loss is important in providing a barrier against allergens and irritants. Using a high quality supplement that delivers the right EFAs in sufficient quantity, such as YuMEGA Itchy Dog can calm itchy skin within 4-6 weeks and help dogs cope with their itching triggers.