Did you know that pets can get allergies too?
Now that spring is finally here, do you find yourself reaching for the allergy medicine to fend off the sneezing and itching? Just as people can suffer from allergies, so can our four-legged pals, and as a pet owner, it’s important to help your pet find relief.
Although pets can certainly get sneezy, and you may even notice that their eyes look red or watery, the most common sign that your pet is suffering from allergies is scratching. It’s hard for your pet not to scratch when they have an itch, but all of that scratching can lead to complications, such as sores, welts and a loss of hair, which is why it’s essential to treat allergies in pets.
What types of allergies do pets suffer from?
Atopy, or atopic syndrome, is a syndrome that indicates “hyperallergic” reactions, which means that the immune system essentially overreacts to allergens. Atopy is probably the most common type of allergy in both people and pets, and it is typically seasonal. Atopy can include allergies to pollen, dust mites, ragweed, etc.
Signs of Atopy in Pets:
- Chewing the feet
- Constant licking of the groin and flank
- Frequent ear infections or inflamed ears
- Wheezing (most likely in cats)
- Recurrent hot spots (common in dogs)
- Facial scabbing (common in cats)
Although food allergies are far less common than Atopy in pets, but they still account for anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of allergies in pets.
Signs of Food Allergies in Pets:
- Scratching at the face, trunk, limbs, feet and anal area
- Frequent ear problems (usually yeast related)
- Antibiotic-responsive skin infections that reappear once antibiotic therapy is finished
Contact dermatitis is a type of allergy caused skin exposure to an irritating substance. Plastic, some carpets and certain cleaning agents are all common sources of contact dermatitis in pets.
Signs of Contact Dermatitis in Pets:
- Red bumps of blisters on areas with less hair, like the feet or belly
- Loss of hair (in severe cases)
Just as some people can have severe allergic reactions to specific allergens, like peanuts, shellfish, etc., some dogs can also have severe allergic reactions. Allergens that cause these severe reactions can include chemicals, drugs, insect bites or stings and ingesting certain foods.
Signs of Severe Allergic Reactions in Pets
- Facial Swelling
If your pet has had a severe allergic reaction in the past, you should have a discussion with your veterinarian about your options. Your pet may be prescribed an epi-pen, which is a special pen that contains epinephrine and can help to revive your pet until emergency veterinary treatment can be provided if they go into anaphylactic shock.
Do you think your pet may have allergies?
If you think that your pet may have allergies, help them find relief by discussing treatment options with our veterinarian at East Meadow Veterinary Center. We proudly serve South Bellmore, and we’ll care for your furry companion as if they were our own. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.