Is Your Pet Suffering from Allergies?

The same allergens that can wreak havoc on your nasal passages can also cause discomfort in your pets.  Pets affected by allergies may suffer all of their lives because we don’t recognize the symptoms.  Knowing the signs of allergies in our furry companions can help alleviate that suffering.

Allergies in Your Pet

There are many types of allergies that can affect your pet.  Recognizing the symptoms of allergies in your furry friends can alleviate their suffering.

Atopy is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens that are inhaled or come in contact with skin.  This is the most common form of allergy in dogs and cats. Atopy is often seasonal and includes allergens that also affect humans, such as spring tree pollen, ragweed, and dust mites. Symptoms of atopy include:

  • Chewing at the feet
  • Constant licking of the side and groin area
  • Rubbing of the face
  • Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent hot spots in dogs and pinpoint facial scabbing in cats
  • Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)

Contact dermatitis is an allergy to something your pet comes in contact with.  This form of allergy is less common.  Allergens may include carpet fibers, cleaners, or plastic. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

  • Red itchy bumps or blisters on sparsely-haired areas of the skin and those exposed to the allergen such as the belly, feet, or muzzle
  • Intense scratching
  • Hair loss (in chronic conditions)

Ten to fifteen percent of allergies in dogs and cats are caused by food. Symptoms include:

  • Itching, especially face, feet, trunk, limbs and anal area
  • Ear problems, often yeast-relates
  • Skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then recur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases

Food allergies can be confused with food intolerances, which generally cause diarrhea and vomiting, but food intolerances are not true allergies.

If you suspect that your pet has allergies, visit your veterinarian who can determine how best to treat him.  It is the best way to relieve his suffering and help him live a happy, healthy life.

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