Hi Everyone! Today I want to address the most common appointment I see at my animal hospital, skin conditions. At some point in their lives, at least 75% of my patients will come in to see me for itching, scratching, licking, hair loss, redness, scabbing, and ear infections, including my own dog, Dory. The questions all my clients have for me are- why is my pet so itchy and please can you do something to relieve his or her discomfort so we can all can get some sleep? Unlike humans who present with runny noses, coughing, sneezing or red watery eyes when allergies attack, our pet’s allergies result in generalized itching, skin infections, and ear infections.
The most common pet allergies are:
- Food Allergies
- Flea Allergies
- Atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, grasses, or soils)
What can we do to help an itchy pet from suffering?
The first step is to work with your veterinarian to determine what is causing your pet’s allergic reaction. If it’s a food allergy, placing him or her on a prescription hypoallergenic diet will help considerably. If our pets are allergic to fleas, veterinarians can prescribe flea preventatives that are very effective and most importantly, safe for your pets. The top flea and tick prevention I prescribe is Nexgard. If your pet has Atopy, there are a number of medications and measures you and your vet can discuss to relieve your pet from chronic itching.
All pets, regardless of the type of allergy, should receive weekly medicated shampoos and be supplemented with omega 3 fatty acids. In addition, certain medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines, immuno-suppresants, hypoallergenic vaccinations, and in severe cases steroids, can help relieve your pet’s suffering considerably. Some of my most severe allergy patients, who are not responding to routine treatment, will be referred to a veterinary dermatologist.
Unfortunately allergies are a common problem for our furry friends, but fortunately there are many things we can do to help. I try and stress to my clients that allergies in pets are not treatable, but they are manageable. My goal is relieve your pet as much as possible to provide him or her with less breakouts, less itching, and more comfort. Speak with your veterinarian to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your pet’s allergies!