Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Back to results
Enter Your Information All fields are required

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

*Please note: Questions submitted and the answers will appear on our website as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.

Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Thank you! Your question has been submitted.

You will receive an answer from Dr. Dym and our vet/tech team as soon as possible, usually the same day.

All answers are provided for informational or educational purposes only, and are intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your pet's veterinarian.

It may be necessary to consult your pet's veterinarian regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your pet's symptoms or medical condition.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Oops! Your question has not been submitted.

An error has occurred, please reload the page and try again.

Close
Ask the Vet
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Michael Dym
Got questions? Ask Dr. Dym & our Vet Team:

While efforts are made to answer all questions as quickly as possible, if an immediate answer is required or if your pet is in need of urgent or emergency care, contact your pet's veterinarian immediately.

Do these answer your question?
Showing of | See All
Have another question, or can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
We're Sorry!

There is no answer related to your question

Can’t find your answer?
Submit your question
Category
Back

From Our Holistic Vet: The Natural Approach to Skin Allergies

Skin and ear allergies are the most common chronic disease complaint presented to veterinarians. The most common cause of chronic skin allergies in our animal companions, especially during the hotter summer months, is fleas.
Symptoms of flea bite allergies include lower body itching and skin eruptions or hot spots that emerge often near the tail, anus, or lower back. In many sensitive animals, all it takes is one or two flea bites to set off a very uncomfortable itching cycle. Diagnosis is usually made by finding flea dirt or live fleas on the animal, or from the typical distribution of the skin lesions.

The second most common cause of skin allergies in our animal companions is contact or inhalant allergens, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis. While these problems tend to be seasonal in many animals, as they get older, this type of allergy often occurs year-round.
Common offending agents may include various grasses, trees, dander, dust mites, and pollens to name a few. Symptoms and signs often include facial itching or rubbing, ear itching or inflammation, as well as scratching behind the front legs in the armpit region, as well as paw licking and/or biting. Secondary yeast and/or bacterial skin infections often emerge from the licking and itching, which only leads to further discomfort.

The third most offending cause of skin allergies is food allergies and dietary hypersensitivities. Many pets who have been eating the same diet for months or years may develop food allergies over time. Symptoms and signs include non-seasonal itching and eruptions anywhere on the body, as well as recurrent or chronic yeast or bacterial ear infections which result in discharge, odor, and excoriations of the ear flaps.

Feline companions also often develop allergies from any of the above causes, however, they may present as excessive groomers or pulling their hair out from various areas of the body, as well as developing raised skin eruptions, plaques, or skin ulcers, known as the eosinophilic granuloma complex (ECG) of cats.

While there are new and exciting conventional medical skin options in controlling the above skin allergy symptoms such as Apoquel and Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic (CADI) or Cytopoint, the condition still often recurs and the tendency to allergy, inflammation, and hypersensitivity tend to go deeper within the patient. Holistic practitioners recognize this phenomenon as the effects of suppression on the chi, or the life force, of the patient.
In the holistic veterinarian’s opinion, deeper immune-mediated diseases such as hormonal disorders, autoimmune digestive tract conditions, urinary tract disease, and even neurologic conditions may manifest if the whole-body tendency to immune-mediated disease is not addressed from a more curative level.
The most important and often most dramatic response to medical intervention is simply starting that animal companion on a species-appropriate, fresh meat-based diet, which may be cooked or, ideally, raw.

“Let food be thy medicine,” is a famous quote from Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine.

There are an increasing number of commercially available, prepared, and balanced fresh meat-based diets on the market, as well as many available recipes online and in books such as Dr. Pitcairn’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD.
Many of my clients prefer to consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionists such as the service provided by Balance It ®. I have seen a dramatic response to recurrent skin allergy symptoms simply from providing a species-appropriate fresh diet.

Another option for clients is to consult with a classical, constitutional homeopathic veterinarian, who will prescribe individualized remedies based on the lifetime symptom totality patterns of the patient on a mental, emotional and physical level. In other words, the homeopath looks at not only the symptoms of skin allergies, but the rest of the patient’s symptom patterns to come up with their homeopathic remedy prescription to address ALL of these chronic disease tendencies, not just the skin condition.

While conventional western medicine often only may temporarily suppress chronic disease, a true cure is often not possible, and the medications and prescription diets need to be continued often indefinitely to keep the chronic disease symptoms from coming back. Eventually, higher doses of strong drugs and/or more potent medications are needed in these cases.
With true homeopathic cure over time, patients are overall healthier with improved vitality and vigor as well as being less susceptible to not only chronic skin allergies, but other chronic disease tendencies as well. Chronic homeopathic cure, however, does take time, patience, commitment, and follow-up, as often old, suppressed symptoms must recur during the healing process to become completely cured.

Finally, many clients will seek out traditional Chinese medically trained veterinarians who will not only use periodic acupuncture treatments but also individualized Chinese herbs or formulas to put the body back into balance. The selection of the acupuncture points and/or Chinese herbs used in these cases is based on an individualized assessment of the patient from what is called a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective.
Very often there are blocks and imbalances to energy flow in the body, as well as imbalances of dampness and/or heat in various parts of the body, which are bought back into balance with acupuncture and Chinese herbs over time. As in the homeopathic perspective of chronic disease treatment, aggravations in symptoms may initially occur as the body detoxifies or does some house-cleaning through discharge, etc.

Detoxing is an important part of the healing process and should not be interfered with through strong suppressive drugs or steroids, as healing may be slowed down or the original condition may relapse or worsen.

Although holistic and natural cures may often take time and patience, the dramatic results often achieved are well worth the wait as pets are not only cured of these symptoms but healthier overall.

Dr. Michael Dym, VMD