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

summary of:
2023 AAHA management of allergic skin diseases in dogs and cats guidelines
Cat scratching his chin
Miller, J., Simpson, A., Bloom, P., Diesel, A., Friedeck, A., Paterson, T., Wisecup, M. and Yu, C-M.
Published in:
November 2023
Type of access:

Free access

In our edition of: Feb 2024
In our categories of: small animals

our summary:

Miller, J, et al (2023) 2023 AAHA Management of allergic skin diseases in dogs and cats guidelines. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 59 (6), pp. 255–284. https://doi.org/10.5326/JAAHA-MS-7396

The aim of these consensus guidelines, prepared by a task force of experts convened by the American Animal Hospital Association, was to provide a step-by-step approach to the diagnosis and management of flea allergy, food allergy and atopy in dogs and cats.  The production of the guidelines was supported by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health, and Zoetis.

The guidelines are structured in sections which cover diagnosing and treating the allergic canine patient; diagnosing and managing the allergic feline patient; Otitis Externa; the spectrum of care considerations in managing allergic skin diseases; technician utilisation in managing allergic skin diseases, and client communication. Detailed diagnostic and treatment plans for flea allergy, food allergy and atopy in dogs and for feline atopic skin syndrome in cats are given.

There is emphasis on a multimodal approach that is tailored to the individual patient with frequent, and ongoing communication with the client which should include discussions of the possible spectrum of care. Top three takeaways are given in each section and recommendations are made throughout, these are classified as technician, spectrum of care or referral recommendations.

Key recommendations include that in all cases a detailed history should be taken; a physical examination must be performed with particular attention paid to ears, skin folds, and paws; a minimum dermatologic database should be collected, including cytology of skin and ears and that clients should be prepared for the fact that these cases require lifelong maintenance and treatment, and that an occasional flare up should be expected.

There is no explicit statement of the methodology used to develop the guidelines.

Take Home

These guidelines provide a practical guide to best practice when managing allergic skin diseases in dogs and cats.  The use of graphics and flowcharts makes the information easily accessible and the discussions on the role of veterinary technicians (nurses) and on managing cases withing existing resource constraints are particularly useful.

The following may also be of interest:

InFOCUS: Spotlight on quality of life assessment tools: disease specific assessment tools: other conditions: skin disease  [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from: https://infocus.rcvsknowledge.org/qol-quality-of-life-assessment-tools-disease-specific-assessment-tools-skin-disease/ [Accessed 16 February 2024]

InFOCUS: Spotlight on caregiver burden and the client perspective on veterinary care: client perspective and caregiver burden in specific conditions: skin disease [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from: https://infocus.rcvsknowledge.org/cgb-caregiver-burden-skin-disease/  [Accessed 16 February 2024]

InFOCUSA randomised controlled trial testing the rebound-preventing benefit of four days of prednisolone during the induction of oclacitinib therapy in dogs with atopic dermatitis [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from: https://infocus.rcvsknowledge.org/a-randomised-controlled-trial-testing-the-rebound-preventing-benefit-of-four-days-of-prednisolone-during-the-induction-of-oclacitinib-therapy-in-dogs-with-atopic-dermatitis/ [Accessed 16 February 2024]

InFOCUS: Treatment of the feline atopic syndrome – a systematic review [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from: https://infocus.rcvsknowledge.org/treatment-of-the-feline-atopic-syndrome-a-systematic-review/ [Accessed 16 February 2024]

Long, S. (2020) Managing atopic dermatitis in dogs: are antihistamines as effective as glucocorticoids? Veterinary Evidence, 5 (4). https://doi.org/10.18849/ve.v5i4.335

Cheung, B.Y.T (2022) In dogs with atopic skin disease, is lokivetmab more effective than oclacitinib in reducing the score of a recognised scoring system? Veterinary Evidence, 7 (2). https://doi.org/10.18849/ve.v7i2.569

Spectrum of Care

The Spectrum of Care Initiative [AAVMC] [online] Available from: https://www.aavmc.org/the-spectrum-of-care-initiative/ [Accessed 16 February 2024]

Brown, C.R. et al. (2021) Spectrum of care: more than treatment options. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 259 (7), pp. 712-717.  https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.259.7.712

Conversation guide for delivering contextualised care [RCVS Knowledge] [online] Available from: https://knowledge.rcvs.org.uk/document-library/conversation-guide-for-discussing-contextualised-care/ [Accessed 16 February 2024]

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Image copyright attribute: Julietta24

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