What is Santa Barbara or Goleta Itch??

Living in paradise means that we enjoy plants blooming and temperate weather all year.  One of the down side issues with paradise is that allergies are more prevalent.  Unlike human allergy sufferers whose signs usually consist of sinus headaches and runny noses, cats and dogs are more likely to have skin and ear problems from their allergies.

The same pollens, molds and dust that send us reaching for a tissue can cause dogs to chew their feet, get chronic ear and skin infections, and rub their faces.  The so called “Santa Barbara/Goleta Itch” is more properly termed Atopy or Atopic dermatitis.  It is like our Hay Fever, and refers to the large number of inhalant and contact allergies that we see in this area.

Unlike less temperate areas where some relief may be seen as the seasons change, many of our patients have allergy signs year round.  To compound the problem, fleas enjoy our wonderful weather too.  And, besides the ever present flea, your pet can develop skin problems due many other causes such as bacteria, yeast, food allergies, mites, and immune-mediated diseases.  Therefore, we oftentimes have multiple skin-related sequelae due to various initiators at the same time.

While your veterinarian’s suspicions about atopy as the cause and/or part of the cause of your pet’s skin issues may be true, currently most veterinarians feel the best way to actually prove it is via skin (allergy) testing.  This can be performed by a veterinary dermatologist such as our local dermatology specialist Dr. Jean Greek.

There are many potential treatment options to try to help alleviate the problems set-up by atopy.  The choices you and your veterinarian decide upon will depend on the severity of your pet’s condition, and your pet’s response to those treatments.  Some of these options may include topical therapies, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, shampoos, fatty acids, and even hyposensitization to the offending allergens by a dermatologist such as Dr. Greek.

Dr. Jean Greek, DVM, DACVD, Dermatology & Allergy Clinic for Animals.

If you have any questions or concerns, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK US.