The chewing. The scratching. The licking. These behaviors are all too familiar to many pet parents and they can be symptoms of a significant health problem. In fact, skin inflammation—also known as allergic or atopic dermatitis—is one of the most common reasons pets come to see us.
Symptoms of Skin Problems/Allergies in Cats & Dogs
- Excessive scratching, chewing or licking
- Lesions and/or scabs
- Ear redness/irritation/infections
- Irritated or dry skin
- Eye discharge
- Red or inflamed skin
- Hair loss
- Rubbing of face and body against furniture or carpets
Causes of Dermatological Issues
- Environmental/contact allergies – fleas, dust, fabrics, household chemicals, mold
- Seasonal allergies – pollen, grass, trees
- Food allergies – not as common, but as a rule pets are much more likely to be allergic to a protein source than to grains or other ingredients in pet foods
Untreated, these allergies can make your dog miserable and lead to secondary health issues such as hair loss and serious skin and ear infections.
Treating Allergies and Skin Issues
At Lake Emma Animal Hospital, we can examine and test your pet and based on the diagnosis, provide you with treatment plans that will provide relief to your pet—and you as well. Some options for treating allergies include:
Medications: There are several medications on the market that can be prescribed for your pet to relieve the itch of allergies.
- Apoquel is a non-steroidal oral medication for dogs that relieves itching within a few hours and is given daily.
- Cytopoint is an injectable treatment that isn’t really a drug, but rather a dog antibody that blocks the itching sensation to the nerves. One injection typically lasts 4-5 weeks.
- For cats, antihistamines and cortisone shots can be helpful.
Environmental modification: Removing the allergen from the environment is the preferred way of controlling your pet’s allergies, but often that isn’t possible. More frequent bathing with medicated shampoos can help, as well as wiping your pet’s paws when they come inside from the outdoors if the allergen is something like pollen. Flea preventatives can eradicate those parasites from your pet and alleviate allergies caused by them.
Dietary changes: The best way to diagnose a food allergy is through a dietary elimination trial, which means purchasing a limited-ingredient food from your vet or creating one at home and watching for your pet’s symptoms to improve. These trials take time, but are the surest way of finding the source of your pet’s symptoms if a food allergy is suspected. Click here to read more about food allergies in pets.
If your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms above or suffering from allergies, our veterinarians have many ways to improve their health and quality of life! Give us a call at 407-333-2901 to schedule an appointment for your pet!