Pet Allergies and Dermatology – Pet Health and Care

Believe it or not, pets can get allergies too. When it comes to your pet’s skin health, pet allergies and dermatology go hand in hand. All kinds of environmental stressors can cause skin irritation and infection. Pollen, dust, and dander allergies can cause your pet to experience the same kinds of similar health issues as a person can. Even so, food allergies and parasites can cause similar dermatological issues as well. In order for your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet’s adverse reactions, it is important to test for all possible causes.

Help! My Pet Has Skin Issues!

Because skin problems are common among domestic pets, pet dermatology is a cornerstone practice available to help you get to the root of any issues. Allergy care, inflammation treatment, and infection management are all part of the treatment process. The various conditions we can help with include:

  • Excessive biting, scratching, scooting, rolling, licking, or chewing at skin or coat

  • Body Odor

  • Fungal or bacterial infections

  • Skin changes (dark spots, hot spots, redness, irritation, color changes)

  • Hair loss

  • Ear infections

If you notice your pet is experiencing any of these issues on a regular basis, your pet may have one or more environmental sensitivities, parasites, food sensitivities, etc.

Should My Pet Be Tested For Allergies?

If your pet is experiencing skin issues that you suspect may be due to allergies, the first step in making sure this is the case is a full workup. Your veterinarian needs to understand the root cause of the problem. Skin conditions need to be narrowed down to one or more of the many causes, and allergies can be one of them. Once the initial wellness tests have ruled out other known factors – such as parasites, poison, or others – an allergy test may be appropriate.

Testing Environmental Factors

The reason to test for allergies is determining what environmental factors are causing your pet’s irritation. If your pet has sensitivities to various environmental factors it is likely they will be there for life. This will likely require intervention to manage lingering health issues over time. Allergen immunotherapy can be one of the tools used in your overall health care routine.

Are There Special Requirements For My Pet To Be Tested?

There are a few things that must be in place before your pet can be safely tested for allergies. Your veterinarian will let you know what these factors are during your visit. Essentially, we have to make sure that any substances or medications that your pet may be in contact with are ruled out. Injectable steroids, for instance, need to be out of your pet’s system for six to eight weeks prior to the test.

What Happens During An Allergy Test?

The standard in modern allergy testing in pets is intradermal skin testing. This is the most effective test for identifying environmental triggers like pollen, molds, grass, and dust. After your pet receives a mild sedative, your vet will inject a small amount of known allergens under the skin watching for raised red bumps if an allergen is present. Once specific allergens are found, if any, a ‘vaccine’ is created with the correct allergens that is injected below the skin. This is easily done at home every 1 - 2 weeks. Another option is a sublingual application. Your vet will be able to inform you about the best treatment option for your pet.

Post Testing – What’s Next?

The point of allergy treatment is to desensitize your pet to the various environmental irritants. Most animals experience a 50% improvement in symptoms after treatments are administered. These treatments will likely be required for the duration of your pet’s life. Your pet dermatologist can help to make sure you are on the right track and that any specific treatments can be modified and tailored to your pet’s unique needs.

In addition to these basic allergy vaccinations, other medications or treatment options may be suggested depending on the skin issues. Some of these treatment options are as simple as using a special allergy shampoo or rinse. Others may include the use of steroids, antifungals, antibiotics, or even surgery to assist in the treatment process.

Final Thoughts

Pet allergies and dermatology are closely related to one another. If your pet is experiencing skin irritation, frequent ear infections, or other irregular coat challenges, there may be an allergen at the root of their challenges. Please feel free to reach out to us here at  Country Doctor Veterinary Clinic today, and we will gladly help you determine the root cause of your pet’s condition. We are always here to help, so give us a call at 440-709-8100.