Atopy is extremely common in the itchy Jack Russell Terrier. This skin condition causes the skin to become dry, inflamed, red and itchy. The skin becomes incredibly itchy and causes constant scratching and constant itching. Your Jack Russell Terrier will chew and lick the feet and scratch the abdomen, the groin and the arm pit (axilla). Ear problems are common also because the hairless part of the inner ear becomes inflamed, red and itchy. This creates humidity, inflammation and wax to develop within the external ear…….a perfect cocktail for infections to develop.
If you want to understand how natural treatments can be helpful and effective, it is important to know a little bit about the anatomy of the skin barrier and what goes wrong in canine atopy. In the itchy Jack Russell Terrier with atopic dermatitis, there is a deficiency in the dogs skin barrier. The skin cells are bound together with “cement” called ceramide. This outer “armour” of skin cells and ceramide is a bit like a brick wall with bricks bound together with mortar. In dogs with atopy, the ceramide is deficient in a protein called sphingosine. The “cement” between the cells is crumbling. This imperfect skin barrier is leaky…..so water escapes from the skin making it very dry and allergens are able to cross the skin barrier triggering the immune system and causing a terrible itchy rash. The skin is usually dry and red.
Many soap based products that wash away the damaged skin barrier will make the problem worse. Shampoo with soaps and surfactants should be avoided because they dry the skin and further danmage the skin barrier. Products that are drying or acidic will dry and damage the skin further still. Acidic products like tea tree oil are commonly sold as natural treatment remedies for itchy skin. If you put an acidic product like tea tree oil onto the skin of a dog with atopic dermatitis, it is like putting petrol on fire.
Canine skin problems can be managed using appropriate home remedies and natural treatments in dogs if you have an understanding of what works and why it is used.
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