Pets Get Allergies Too!
Yes, dogs and cats can have allergies just like humans do! In fact, allergic skin disease is one of the most commonly diagnosed skin problems in dogs! It is especially common in Texas. Pets can be allergic to environmental allergens including: pollen, weeds, trees, grasses, plants, animal dander, dust mites, and many other things. Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory chronic skin disease associated with allergies. Both dogs and cats can get atopic dermatitis, however it is seen more commonly in dogs.
Symptoms of Allergies:
- itching / scratching, excessive grooming
- licking and chewing at paws or skin
- redness of skin and skin rashes
- hair loss or dull dry coat
- sneezing, watery eyes
- itchy ears and ear infections
Diagnosing Allergies in Pets:
A complete history, physical exam, and laboratory testing is needed to diagnose an allergy in your pet. Other diseases such as flea allergy dermatitis, food allergies, contact dermatitis, and infections can mimic the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Allergy testing including blood allergy testing and skin allergy testing can help diagnose specific environmental allergies that your pet is allergic to. Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital offers blood allergy testing for pets with suspected environmental allergies through Heska.
Treating Allergies in Pets:
Treatment must be tailored to your pet’s specific allergy and symptoms. Prescription shampoos can help, as well as medications including antihistamines and corticosteroids. Customized immunotherapy can be tailored for your pet to help desensitize them to the the specific allergens based on allergy testing. Immunotherapy is now available that can be given by mouth instead of injections. Other medications, including Apoquel are now available for long term management of atopic dermatitis in dogs. Prescription pet foods like, Hills Derm Defense, can also help in managing allergies.
If you think your pet may have allergies call us today for an appointment, 830-438-7800
Megan Hughes, DVM