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Allergies (Under General Health Concerns)
Allergies among pets are described as an abnormal sensitivity when exposed to particular elements. Allergies can be genetically inherited and some breeds may be more susceptible than others. Most pets start to show signs of an allergy around the age of 2 to 6 years old, but there are certainly exceptions to this.
If you think your pet is exhibiting the signs of an allergy or you have questions about pet allergens, please contact our office.
Common allergens for pets:
• Cigarette smoke
• Medical prescriptions
• Cleaning products
• Tree pollens
• Food ingredients
• Weed pollens
• Grass pollens
• Dust mites and other parasites
Symptoms of allergies in pets:
• Excessive scratching.
• Constantly licking skin.
• Frequent sneezing.
• Itchy ears.
• Itchy red skin.
• Itchy, watery eyes.
• Paw chewing.
• Scabbed skin.
• Swelling of paws.
• Swelling of eyelids.
• Vomiting and diarrhea.
How are specific allergies determined?
There are numerous tests that can help determine specific allergies in pets. The following two exams are the methods commonly implemented to test pets for allergies. If a more involved diagnosis is required for your pet’s particular condition, we will make additional arrangements.
Food trials – Food trials are simply the process of trying out different pet foods to alleviate a food allergy. It takes 6-8 weeks of a very strict elimination diet to determine if your pet’s problems are due to a food allergy. Please always work with your veterinarian when attempting a food trial, as it can be difficult to get an accurate diagnosis if performed incorrectly.
Skin allergy panel – This test is performed on a referral basis at a veterinary dermatologist. During the test, the veterinarian will shave off a small section of your pet’s hair and will draw a grid directly on their skin. The vet will then inject common known allergens alongside control variables to determine which injections (allergens) the pet is allergic to.
Treating pets with allergies
Depending on the allergy, there are several methods of treatment that can help alleviate the agony of allergies. More generic forms of relief include regularly shampooing your pet to reduce itchiness and remove any bacteria and scabs. Also consider washing and rinsing paws with a cool bath any time they seem to be suffering. Please call our office so we can help you determine whether over-the-counter medications will be sufficient, or if your pet needs veterinary intervention for allergy relief.
After positively diagnosing your pet with a specific allergy, the veterinarian can recommend a more detailed treatment for their particular case. Many pets may experience secondary skin and ear infections due to allergies and will require prescription treatments or medication.