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Can pets have allergies?

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Can pets have allergies?

Yes! Pets can have allergies. Pets can show all different kinds of ways that they have allergies. With Spring right around the corner, it is very important to keep a keen eye on your pet and notice any persistent scratching, chewing or discharge from their eyes. The following information is intended to help provide pet owners with a basic understanding of the most common underlying causes of itching and allergies in small animals. Here’s a summary of the most common underlying causes of itching and allergies in small animals.

What are the most common causes of itching?

Itching in dogs can involve not only scratching but also chewing, licking, and rubbing. The two most common causes of itching are external parasites and allergies. Examples of itchy external parasites on dogs are fleas and small bugs called sarcoptic mange mites.

What are the most common types of allergies in dogs?

Allergies are a common cause of skin and ear conditions in dogs. Dogs with allergies rarely have respiratory signs from their allergies and instead usually have red and itchy skin, hair loss, or recurring skin or ear infections.

What are the major types of allergies in dogs?

Flea allergy

Flea allergic dermatitis is the most common skin disease in dogs. For the flea allergic patient, 100% flea control is essential for remaining symptom-free.

Flea allergy is caused by the flea’s saliva, and it only takes a few bites to cause a problem. Also, an itchy dog often scratches so much that adult fleas are hard to find because they are removed from the body.

As the weather starts to warm up, pet allergies can start to become more common, many veterinarians recommend instituting complete flea control before proceeding with tests for itching. For most allergic dogs, year-round flea treatment is an important part of reducing itch.

Food allergy

Some pets can have allergies that are specific to food. Various food proteins, carbohydrates, or even preservatives or dyes can all be potential food allergens. There is currently no accurate blood or skin test to determine if your dog has a food allergy. If the allergy signs resolve, a food challenge is performed by feeding the former diet and watching for a return of the itching. If this occurs, a diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a type of allergy. Skin or ear inflammation occurs in response to a variety of normally harmless substances, such as plant pollens, house dust mites, and other environmental allergens. Allergy tests of the skin or blood help us compile a list of allergens for a vaccine to decrease the pet’s sensitivity.

Secondary infections

Pets can have allergies and are often the underlying cause of recurring skin and/or ear infections. Bacterial and yeast infections, though secondary to the allergy, can increase your pet’s level of itching. Long-term treatment with antibiotics and anti-yeast medications is commonly required, along with medicated bathing programs.

Can allergies be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergy and it is usually a life-long problem. It is important you speak with your veterinarian to seek to control allergies and improve the quality of life for both you and your dog. 

Can the itching be treated without the expense of diagnostic testing?

There are many anti-allergy medications to reduce itching. These medications do not cure allergies but can help decrease the symptoms. Working with your veterinarian to diagnose the underlying cause of the allergy and itching may reduce the need for medications or enable your veterinarian to use more specific and targeted allergy treatments.

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