Atopy is one of the most important forms of allergy in dogs. Between 3% and 15% of dogs suffer from an atopic condition1. Atopy is hereditary and it can lead to allergies against the pollen of some plants (e.g. grasses, weeds, trees), fungi or various dust and storage mites. Certain breeds appear to be at higher than average risk of developing atopy. Such breeds include the Lhasa Apso, Schnauzer,Alsatian, Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier,Jack Russell and Fox Terrier2.
The symptoms of an atopic individual usually manifest themselves before the age of 3 years. The initial symptoms are often mild and are tolerated by owners because they respond well to short-term symptomatic therapy or because they initially only appear at certain times of the year such as pollen allergies in the summer.
1Hillier, et al. Vet. Immunol. Path. 81 (2001) 147-151
2Sousa, et al. Vet Immunol. Path. 81 (2001) 153-157