Treating Pet Allergies, One Itch at a Time
Before you decide to rename your pets Itchy and Scratchy, pay close attention to their appearance and behavior. Itching and red, irritated skin often indicate pet allergies, which manifest a little differently than human allergies. While pets do sneeze and experience runny eyes with allergies, itching can lead to more serious problems. When your pet licks and scratches at the same area they damage the skin barrier, which can result in a secondary infection.
Pet allergies should be taken seriously because they can be difficult to treat if left to their own devices. Fortunately, our doctors in Greenfield have plenty of experience treating allergies and alleviating their symptoms.
What Types of Allergies Can Pets Have?
Like us, our pets can become allergic to a variety of things. Common types of pet allergies include seasonal allergies, food allergies, and flea bite hypersensitivity (also known as flea allergic dermatitis). Some of the most notorious allergens include:
- Grass, tree and weed pollens
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain fabrics
- Food ingredients including chicken, pork, beef, corn and soy
Diagnosing the Cause
Recognizing that your pet has allergies is just the first step. The next step involves finding the cause. Therefore, we will need to run diagnostics and/or recommend an elimination diet. Our diagnostic options include:
- Allergy serum testing
- In-house blood testing
- Skin cytology
- Skin scraping
- Fungal cultures (which we send to an outside lab)
In some cases, a fungal infection or parasites might be the cause of your pet's skin problems. Ear mites, sarcoptic and demodectic mange, and ringworm can cause hair loss, skin irritation and severe infections.
Treating your pet
Your pet's treatment plan will depend on their condition and other factors including medical history, age, size, and whether they are currently on medication. Certain skin problems can be difficult to treat and will require follow-up visits with the veterinarian. Furthermore, other treatments may need to be tried before we find a solution.
Oral medications, topicals, medicated shampoos and hypoallergenic food all play a role in reducing symptoms and keeping allergies under control. The key is finding the best combination for your pet and maintaining a strict treatment routine. If your pet is itchy, scratchy and miserable, call (414) 529-3577 for an appointment!