A clinicians guide to making a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis in dogs

01 May 2020

Barnard, N.

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Background: The pruritic dog is a common, non-specific clinical presentation seen in general practice that can have many different causes. A diagnosis of atopic dermatitis can only be made by excluding all other causes of pruritus. The diagnostic pathway is a process clients often find frustrating because it is lengthy and requires a lot of commitment on their part with regards to time and money. Atopic dermatitis is a disease which can be controlled but not cured, so it is vital to have the correct diagnosis before starting the patient on a lifelong treatment regime.

Aim of the article: This article, the first in a three-part series on atopic dermatitis, discusses the diagnostic steps that need to be taken to reach a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis. Parts 2 and 3, to be published in future issues of In Practice, will cover management of atopic dermatitis and how to use in-house dermatological tests.