The Bouvier des Flandres is a relatively healthy dog with few health issues. One problem that does affect many Bouvier des Flandres is Atopic Dermatitis. Atopic Dermatitis is a skin disease caused by a dog's allergic reaction to something such as pollen, fleas, or even food allergies. When the Bouvier is a victim of Atopic Dermatitis, the skin becomes rough, itchy, and oozing with fluid. This is caused by the immune system's reactions to the different allergens. It has not been determined if Atopic Dermatitis is inherited from one parent or the other.
Many different symptoms may indicate your Bouvier des Flandres is suffering from Atopic Dermatitis or allergies in general. Constant itching and skin discoloration are the first signs to look for regarding skin allergies. Other signs are face rubbing, foot licking, excessive sweating, and scaling. For inhalant allergies, symptoms may be coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and mucous discharge. The most common things to bring on inhalant allergies are molds, house dust or pollens. Vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, scaliness, nausea, and lethargy are examples of symptoms caused by food allergies.
Food allergies are rarely the cause of an allergic skin reaction; however, a group of food trials should be given to the dog to see if there is a food allergy.
In most cases of Atopic Dermatitis, symptoms will surface between the age of one and three years of age. There have been reports of Bouvier dogs under the age of one that suffer from this disorder. Although there are many types of allergies and skin disorders, the dog will need an intradermal skin test to determine if Atopic Dermatitis is present. There are other tests such as the Radioallerfosorbetn test (RAST) or the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent test (ELISA), which can also help to pinpoint if Atopic Dermatitis is the culprit.
One of the tests is a simple procedure where the hair on the chest is shaved and a small amount of substance is injected into the skin of the dog. The substances will consist of different possible allergens known to dogs. Within 15 to 20 minutes, there will be some sort of reaction from the dog. There is treatment for skin allergies such as Atopic Dermatitis, but first it needs to be narrowed down to it only being that problem.
Often a dog will develop a yeast infection as part of an allergic reaction. These are often treated with a cream. Bacterial infections in dogs will also cause skin irritations and can be treated with antibiotics and cortisone medication. These conditions in addition to fleas can all contribute and add to the discomfort of Atopic Dermatitis in the Bouvier des Flandres.
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis is often steroids, although they are known to cause side affects sometimes more bothersome than the actual Atopic Dermatitis. Essential fatty acids have been reported to help 25% of skin disorder problems. Antihistamines are also prescribed for treatment of Atopic Dermatitis.