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Animal health care | Itching to talk about allergies in pets…

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

Does your pet itch, scratch or rash?  Keeping you up at night with constant licking?  Does your pet vomit or have problem with bloating and gas? Allergies in dogs and cats can cause all of these signs and more...

Many of our pets are allergic to environmental (read indoor and outdoor) pollens and molds and most commonly show skin and GI signs.  Some also have respiratory signs as well; sneezing, watery eyes, and a unique phenomenon called a reverse sneeze, which is actually like a post-nasal drip. Veterinarians are your pet's advo-CAT when it comes to helping with the discomfort your pet shows.

By taking a careful history and using some genetic tendencies (yes we're breed profiling here) plus the physical examination of your pet we can help step-by-step to formulating a plan for control.  Some obvious signs can guide us in our plan for the comfort of you pet:

*itching at the rump area?  probably flea allergy.

*itching at the ears, chronic ear infections and rear end licking? probably food allergy or intolerance.

* ear scratch test positive: think of Scabies (a skin parasite also known as mange).

* foot licking? think atopic dermatitis (pollen allergy, house dust mite allergy) with about 15 % having food allergy as well.

The twist is that many of these problems can have more than one cause! 

With hypoallergenic diets commercially balanced by food companies such as Hills prescription diets, Royal Canin and Iams we can choose a diet based on your pet's dietary history.  These diets are prescription diets because many of us have already tried OTC foods and they haven't worked!  We need to remember that even a flavored treat or medication can be a trigger for allergy reaction.

Absolutely important is flea (and tick) control on all the furry family members, even if they don't spend any or much time outside!  Most fleas on dogs and cats are the CAT flea.  Cats being such good groomers often don't allow fleas or evidence of fleas -flea "dirt" to be obvious.  One flea bite in an allergic pet can send them into misery!

Then there are the secondary infections that complicate matter: bacterial (and some of these can be antibiotic resistant or MRSI infections) and yeast infections.  Long term antibiotics and/or anti-fungal medications along with proper bathing and control are necessary. We often incorporate antihistamines and essential fatty acids or fish oils as supplemental therapies.

So we treat the treatable contributing factors and there still is a poor response? We now have an alternative to steroid medications and the side effects they cause: ATOPICA.  This drug is available through your veterinarian and can make your dogs at least so much more comfortable.  Other options are allergy testing and food trials ("medicine" in a bowl because you are what you eat!)

Your pet doesn't have to suffer and neither do you...

For further information about any of your allergy concerns please contact us at http://www.ahcmarlboro.com/ or e-mail the animal healthcare team yourpetsvet@ahcmarlboro.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @yourpetsvet