Allergy Season Affects Pets Too
Apr 30, 2019 04:09PM
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Allergy season has arrived and our animal family members are commonly susceptible to a variety of allergic skin conditions. Environmental allergens make up at least 50% of the cases we see in dogs and cats. The most common culprits are trees, weeds, grasses, pollens, and dust mites. Each allergic pet has their own unique group of allergens they react to. In looking at the overall causes of skin allergies in both dogs and cats, flea allergy ranks number one, followed by environmental allergies, and food allergies.
Classic symptoms of allergic dermatitis in dogs include licking and chewing their feet, and rubbing and itching their head, neck, and sides of the body. As the allergies worsen, the itching becomes more intense and pet owners will notice areas of hair loss, crusting, and ulceration. As the skin defense mechanisms become compromised, bacteria and yeast organisms overgrow and the affected pets begin suffering from a combination of both inflammation and infection. At this point, many animals act depressed, lethargic, and stop eating.
Allergic skin disease is difficult, if not impossible, to cure but can be managed very effectively. Working with a skilled veterinarian, who can utilize their knowledge in the implementation of specific diets, supplements, medicated shampoos, medications, and effective flea control, is the best approach. Customizing these therapies aid in the management of each susceptible pet’s skin disease and helps to slow or stop the progression into the more severe forms of allergic dermatitis.
Recent advancements in the medications utilized to treat allergic skin disease have dramatically helped in controlling itching, skin inflammation, and infections. The development of the oral product Apoquel and the injectable biologic solution CytoPoint have revolutionized how veterinarians manage allergic dermatitis in the affected pets. Both products are safe and produce few side effects, resulting in decreasing the amounts of cortisone/prednisone needed to control the condition.
Brad Cahoon, DVM, Owner // Veterinary Healing Center // 120 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 4, Folsom // 916-889-7387, vethealingfolsom.com // 2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 150, El Dorado Hills // 916-933-6030, vethealingeldoradohills.com