“My dog is scratching and itching. I think he or she has fleas?! What can I do?”
This is an all too familiar phone call we receive from our clients.
Fortunately, we don’t see a lot of fleas in the Phoenix area. They prefer California. However, then we say the words nobody wants to hear, “I think your pet is suffering from allergies.” Oftentimes that’s followed by a big sigh!
What are allergies and why my pet?
Any dog or cat can develop allergies. Seasonal allergies are the most common, followed by food allergies. And just to add a little more fun, your pet may have a combination of both.
Seasonal pet allergies are caused by the pet’s immune system reacting to agents in the environment such as pollens and molds. People who suffer from allergies enjoy running eyes and sneezing; our pets scratch and itch.
Food allergies in pets emerge when a pet develops an aversion to the protein or carbohydrate source in their diet. Pets suffering from food allergies may also develop gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea.
What can be done to help pets that suffer from allergies?
Initially people want to know what they can do at home to help their pet. One option to test is frequent bathing with a mild shampoo. That may provide some relief for those pets suspected of having seasonal allergies.
However, attempts at home to relieve the allergy symptoms are often unsuccessful and your pet may become more uncomfortable. You may notice your pet may have a reduced appetite and may appear less active.
What else can I do for my pet?
In order to identify what your pet may be suffering from, your veterinarian will obtain a thorough history and a physical exam. Additional tests may be performed to determine if bacterial and yeast infections are present on the skin There are treatment options and special diets your veterinarian may recommend based on their findings.
Two new products Apoquel and Cytopoint have been introduced to the market to help treat allergies. Pets with secondary bacterial and yeast infections will require a three to four week course of antibiotics and antifungal medication.
Finally, for those pets that suffer from complicated and challenging cases of allergic and Atopic dermatitis , veterinary dermatology specialists are available to help manage your pets’ symptoms.
Call 480-648-0583 to schedule an appointment to help your pet feel their best.
Note: It is important to realize the goal of pet allergy treatment is to control allergy symptoms as there is no cure for allergies.