Do you have a pet that scratches? Has your pet got red, inflamed, or flaky skin? If so, your pet probably has some type of dermatitis.

Dermatitis is inflammation (or irritation) of the skin and is an extremely common problem in pets. Inflammation of the skin itself is often very itchy and the more the dog scratches the worse it gets. The damaged skin then often gets a secondary infection which makes the itching even worse. It becomes a never-ending itch-scratch cycle, and so can progress quickly from a small rash to a severe skin infection.

Dermatitis can be a challenging condition to treat as there are a large number of things that can cause it and it is usually controllable but not curable. The most common cause of dermatitis is an underlying allergy to any of bacteria, fungus/yeast, fleas, food, plants, pollens, dust mites, grass, chemicals/cleaners, shampoos and sometimes certain concretes/surfaces. Add to this, a lot of patients have a skin barrier defect leading to atopic dermatitis (or “atopy”). Dogs with atopic dermatitis (it is called eczema in humans) can become sensitive to almost anything that contacts their skin, so they can have multiple allergies that set them off.

Eltham is a beautiful suburb blessed with parks, rivers, scrubland and wildlife. Eltham is also known as the “itch capital” of Melbourne as these very things can be sources of allergic skin disease in our pets. Diagnosing the cause of dermatitis in each pet can be a lengthy process that requires dedication and patience from their owners. Once a diagnosis is achieved pets are either managed with temporary treatment or some need ongoing therapy to keep them happy and comfortable. Until recently we have had limited options for long term medication and some of these medications can come with significant side effects.

We are excited to announce that in the last few months, Eltham Veterinary Practice has access to a revolutionary new anti-itch medication for treating allergic dermatitis in dogs. It works extremely well in most patients, is much safer for long term treatment and we’ve already had some great successes.

One success story!..

Meet Cassie! Cassie is an 8 year old mixed breed and a local pooch from Cronis court in Eltham. Cassie was brought into the clinic last year by her mum Carol for constantly scratching her back on furniture and branches, to the point where she was bald in two big stripes down her back: Atopic Dermatitis! Carol was doing everything to try and manage Cassie conservatively; diligent flea control, prescription food, medicated shampoos etc… However Cassie was still itching and we decided she needed a better long term solution.


Cassie was put on the new anti-itch drug and Carol noticed her scratching stopped almost immediately. A few months on and Cassie is almost completely itch free and her hair has grown back! Mum is happy and Cassie is happy that she doesn’t need to go to Eltham Veterinary Practice as often.

If your pet suffers from the itches please come and see us to discuss your options as we have a great new solution for you!

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