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Prescription Diets for Skin Disease

By Dr Vicki Gilchrist BVetMed

There are many skin conditions that we see on a regular basis, one of the most common being Canine Atopy which is essentially itchy skin caused by allergies. The severity of the disease is variable and can range from mild itching and redness to more severe skin and ear infections.

One part of the management of skin conditions is a change in diet. Diet can play a huge role in reduction of severity of symptoms and even achieve cure in some cases.

The reason for some dog’s itchy skin is an allergy to the protein in their diet- this is more likely to happen in young dogs. The protein that is most commonly a problem is beef but can be any meat. If food hypersensitivity is the only cause of their skin problems, changing diets can cure them. In other cases, food hypersensitivity is only part of the problem so changing the diet can help hugely but not cure the problem. In dogs that react to environmental allergens (pollens, grasses, house dust mites etc), improving the quality of their diet and therefore improving their skin health can greatly reduce their symptoms.

There are a range of Prescription Diets that we recommend for skin complaints. All are suitable for those dogs with environmental allergies and some are more suited to the dogs that we need to do an exclusion diet/diet trial on. An exclusion diet is a strict diet where we change the protein source to one that the dog has ideally never tried before, or the protein molecules have been changed to make them less reactive in the body (hydrolysed protein). When doing an exclusion diet, the dog must have NOTHING else to eat as even a tiny amount of the causative allergen will create a skin reaction. These diet trials are recommended for approximately 2-3 months to see whether the dog will improve, it is not an overnight change.

All Prescription Skin diets also have added antioxidants and essential fatty acids (e.g. omega 3 and 6) which help improve skin health.

Recommended exclusion diets (good for all skin conditions)-
- Hills z/d (this uses a hydrolysed protein)
- Eukanuba Dermatosis FP- fish and potato base

Recommended general skin diets to improve skin health-
- Hills Sensitive Skin
- Eukanuba Sensitive Skin

Please contact your vet to discuss if you would like to try one of our Prescription Skin diets.

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