With springtime finally upon us, it seemed like the perfect time to talk about ALLERGIES!
By Dr. Shaila Crumpton, Animal Medical Care Center, Yorktown VA
DID YOU KNOW?
1. There are 3 types of allergies in our furry friends – flea bite, food, and environmental
2. Allergies are really common, especially in the state of Virginia
3. Our dogs show signs of allergies through many ways – itching, scratching, licking paws, biting rumps and other parts of the body, and shaking their heads
What’s so significant about allergies?
When your dog has an allergy, they can become really itchy which can result in a lot of inflammation. This can lead to hair loss and skin and ear infections.
How are allergies diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis can be made through history (ex: fleas seen on the pet, change in diet, itching/scratching at a certain time of year, frequent skin and ear infections, etc.). Depending on what symptoms your dog has, diagnostics such as a skin and ear cytology, intradermal testing with a dermatologist, and a food diet trial.
Treatment of allergies typically involves finding ways to manage them.
– Fleas – Year round flea and tick prevention can prevent your dog from getting a flea bite allergy. Dogs are very sensitive to the saliva in a flea bite.
– Food – Once a food allergy has been confirmed through a food trial with a hypoallergenic diet, your dog will need to remain on that diet for the rest of their lives. This means no human food or normal dog food or treats as these can cause them to become really itchy and have a flare up. The most common food allergy is to beef or poultry!
– Environmental – Anti-itch medications such as Cytopoint (injection that lasts on average around 4-8 weeks) and Apoquel (oral medication given daily) are two medications used to manage allergies. Baths with medicated shampoos and ear cleanings with medicated cleansers may also be a necessary part to the treatment regimen for maintenance.
If you think your pet has allergies, consult with your vet!