Hi everyone! Today I want to address the most common appointments I see at my animal hospital- skin conditions from allergies. At least 75% of my patients will visit me at some point in their lives for itching, scratching, licking, hair loss, redness, scabbing, and ear infections, including my own dog, Dory! So why is my pet so itchy, and please can you do something to relieve his or her discomfort so we can get some sleep? Unlike humans who present with runny noses, coughing, sneezing or red watery eyes when allergies attack, our pets’ allergies result in generalized itching, skin infections, and ear infections.
The most common pet allergies are:
How do I know if my pet has allergies, and what treatment options are there?
The first step is to work with your veterinarian to first determine if your pet is suffering from allergies and if so, the cause of the allergic reaction. A food allergy requires placing your pet on a prescription hypoallergenic diet. If your pet is allergic to fleas, veterinarians can prescribe flea preventatives that are very effective and most importantly, safe for your pets. Environmental allergies to things such as pollen, grasses or soils are more difficult to treat, but I am excited about some of the new treatment options as discussed below. The second step is to have your veterinarian determine the type of infection your pet has for proper treatment. Many times your veterinarian will recommend skin scrapes, skin cytology, cultures, or bloodwork to assess the type of infection and treat accordingly.
Once my pet has been diagnosed with allergies and an infection, what can we do to help an itchy pet from suffering?
It is important to allow your veterinarian assess and make a treatment plan for your pet’s allergy. There are many treatments available, and every pet is unique. Treatment regimens need to be prescribed by your veterinarian. Here is my top list for treatment of allergies and associated skin infections:
I am hearing of some new treatment options for pets suffering with allergies. What are these options and can they help my pet?
I am so excited for all the wonderful and exciting new treatment options for pets suffering with allergies and severe itchy skin, a condition that has proven extremely difficult to treat. Immunotherapy to treat pets suffering from allergies and itchy skin is changing the way we have treated allergies in the past, and is much safer with less side effects and more positive results. Immunotherapy consists of a substance given to pets that stimulates an immune response targeting specific environmental allergies in your pets. So how do these new treatments help our pets?
I love learning and utilizing treatment options in my practice that help ease suffering in pets. These newer therapies are replacing older treatment options for pets with allergies, such as steroids that can be harmful on the body with long term use. Unfortunately, controlling common allergies and itching in our pets is very difficult and frustrating for me as a veterinarian, but more so for my patients and their parents. As I tell my clients and cannot stress enough, allergies in pets are not curable, but only manageable. I am always excited when new research and treatment options are available to us and our pets, which are proven to be safe and helpful. As always, my number one goal is to make sure our pets are happy and healthy. I hope this article brings some insight into treatment options for your pet as well as some newer, safer options for our itching pets! If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets, and can determine if your pet is a candidate for these great new treatment options.
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