2023 AAHA Management of Allergic Skin Diseases in Dogs and Cats Guidelines

Guidelines at a Glance

Are you haunted by the sound of scratching in the dead of night? Are you fighting the urge to run away when you see another itchy pet on your schedule? Take the scary out of managing allergic patients with the 2023 AAHA Management of Allergic Skin Diseases Guidelines.

Managing allergic skin diseases in dogs and cats can be challenging. It requires a multimodal therapeutic approach and frequent, ongoing communication with the pet’s family members and caregivers. These guidelines offer detailed diagnosis and treatment plans to help guide you to better patient outcomes and client satisfaction.

What’s in the Guidelines?

Diagnosis and treatment plans for:

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  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Atopy
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  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Feline atopic skin syndrome
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Spectrum of care considerations for allergic skin diseases

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Client communication tips

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Optimizing the role of veterinary technicians

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Guidance on when to refer to a specialist

3 Takeaways

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Always get a detailed history of the patient, including seasonality, pruritus level, ectoparasite prevention, age of onset and progression, and response to previous therapies.

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After a complete physical exam has been performed, a minimum dermatologic database should be collected, including skin cytology, flea combing, skin scrapings, and ear cytology (if ear disease is present).

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Atopy is a diagnosis of exclusion. Allergy testing (intradermal or serum) to identify allergens does not diagnose atopy and should only be performed if immunotherapy is planned.

2 Actions

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Treating all pruritic cats for fleas/mites is not only a potentially important therapeutic measure, but also a key diagnostic step on the path to determining the primary cause of pruritus.

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If previously successful management protocols stop working, first perform a thorough history and physical examination and return to the minimum dermatologic database to determine if anything has changed.

1 Thing to Never Forget

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Treating the allergic patient is not one-size-fits-all, and a multimodal approach often yields the best results.

Read the full Guidelines here!

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Download the Guidelines at a Glance

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Meet Ollie!


Ollie is our mascot for the 2023 AAHA Management of Allergic Skin Diseases in Dogs and Cats Guidelines, designed by artist Lili Chin.

Download the Guidelines Summary poster

AAHA Technician Utilization Guidelines Inforgraph

Watch this summary of the 2023 AAHA Management of Allergic Skin Diseases in Dogs and Cats Guidelines

The 2023 AAHA Management of Allergic Skin Diseases in Dogs and Cats Guidelines are generously supported by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis.

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