Pets & Allergies
It’s that time of year again, allergy season is upon us and unfortunately it doesn’t just plague us, our pet’s can be affected too.
There are 4 different categories of allergies we see in pets, and all of their effects manifest in the skin:
- Inhalant allergies, like pollens, molds, dust etc.
- Contact allergies, like poison ivy or chemicals that may come into contact with skin
- Flea allergies, which are caused by an intense reaction to flea saliva
- In cats, this is typically in beef, dairy and fish
- In dogs, we see it most food allergies from beef, dairy, egg, wheat, soy and chicken
Below are some suggestions on ways you can identify allergies your pet may suffer from:
- Food allergies can include problems with vomiting and diarrhea and cats may itch their heads a lot, a symptom that is often mistaken for a problem with their ears or mange
- Flea bite allergies usually involve hair loss, redness of the skin and scabs
- Inhalant allergies may display itchiness and redness of the skin
- Contact allergies may cause redness of the skin similar to an inhalant allergy
Since so many of the symptoms are similar, your best bet to help your pet is to take them to your vet where testing can be done to isolate and determine what specific allergy your pet may have. If your vet cannot do this testing, you may ask them to refer you to a veterinary dermatologist.
Once the specific type of allergy has been discovered, treatment is typically to remove the cause of the allergy. In the case of an inhalant allergy, antihistamines can be helpful or your veterinarian can prescribe corticosteroids for short courses or a drug called Apoquel that’s being used to provide wonderful relief for pets.
Taking the time to properly identify and treat your pet’s allergies can save them from a lot of unnecessary discomfort, and ensure that they remain your happy loving companion.