What is an allergy?
Many instances of coat, nail, ear, skin, and stomach conditions found in cats and dogs may be attributable to either environmental or nutritional allergies.
These allergies may irritate your pet's gastrointestinal system or inflammation in their skin, ears, or other areas of their body. These symptoms may also cause your pet to experience discomfort or pain.
The vets at Family Pet Hospital can provide allergy testing and treatment options, working with you to determine the root cause of your pet's discomfort.
If you suspect your pet may have an allergy, we can conduct a full physical examination, test for numerous allergies, and eliminate other potential causes. Together, we can find a solution.
Types of Allergies
There are a few different types of allergies pets can experience that may trigger a reaction, including:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
In some of our pooches, the saliva of fleas may trigger an intense allergic reaction that may cause something called flea allergy dermatitis. This may cause extremely itchy skin, especially at the base of the tail. You may find that their skin becomes scabbed, inflamed, and red.
Other signs of this condition include noticing fleas themselves and their feces (also called flea dirt) in your pet's coat.
- Food Allergies
Did you know your pet's itchy skin could potentially be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities? If you notice them scratching at their ears or paws, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a combination of both, get in touch with your vet.
You must understand the distinction between food sensitivities and food allergies. Unlike food allergies, sensitivities are gradual reactions to specific ingredients such as milk, chicken, beef, or wheat.
These symptoms may range from chronic infection and itchiness to diarrhea and vomiting. Proper food allergies trigger serious immune system responses in your pet that may cause skin conditions like facial swelling and hives.
- Environmental Allergens
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen, and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similarly to food allergies, we will check your dog's paws and ears for signs that they may be suffering from allergies caused by environmental substances. Checks will also be made of their muzzle, underarms, ankles, between their toes, and around their wrists.
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Your pet's symptoms will depend on the underlying cause of their allergies. These symptoms may include things like:
- Hair loss
- Skin rash or hives
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Patchy, itchy, or flaky skin
- Respiratory congestion
- Head shaking and/or scratching (one or both)