Just like people, dogs and cats can also suffer from allergies. Pets can be allergic to many substances, from ingredients in foods to insect bites. Although there are many different types of allergens, they can all make your pet miserable. That's why if you notice any signs of pet allergies, take your animal to our animal hospital right away. At Annapolis Veterinary and Wellness in Annapolis, we've put together a list of common signs of pet allergies to look out for.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Pet allergies can come from many sources, making them challenging to diagnose. Sometimes, pets are allergic to environmental factors within your house. A pet may be allergic to your laundry soap, the dust in your home, or possible particles circulating through your house. Pet allergies might also come from the changing seasons and be related to the outdoor environment like pollen, mold, and plants. Pets can also have severe food allergies. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to allergic reactions, such as West Highland White Terriers and retriever breeds.
What Are Pets Allergic To?
Pets are allergic to a wide variety of allergens. They can also be allergic to more than one allergen. They can be allergic to insect bites, pollen, mold, dust, chemicals in flea collars, laundry detergent, household cleaners, tobacco smoke, perfume, air fresheners, medication, specific foods, or ingredients in food like wheat gluten or artificial flavors.
Signs of Allergies in Pets
The most common allergy symptom is chronically itchy skin. Your pet may scratch excessively, causing bald patches, sore paws, or open wounds. Your pet may experience vomit, gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Other symptoms include runny eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing, and noisy breathing. Cats often shake their heads when suffering from allergies. Dogs may become more aggressive or hyperactive. If your pet shows any of these symptoms, he or she needs a thorough assessment from our veterinarian.
Diagnosing Allergies in Pets
Your pet will be given a physical examination. Blood tests may be needed to rule out any other possible health issues. Skin tests often help us find out what the pet is allergic to. We can also provide allergy tests where we inject small amounts of common allergens like flea saliva or pollen into your pet's skin to assess the reaction. If symptoms appear, then the allergen is discovered. Food allergies are difficult to diagnose, since your pet will need to be on a bland diet for a while. One food is added at a time to see if symptoms appear.
Pet Allergy Treatment
Treatment is two-fold. The first is to eliminate the allergen from the pet's life as much as possible. Trying to discover what the allergen is can be a long process if the first tests come up negative. The second part of treatment is to alleviate the symptoms. This is done with pills, creams, shampoos, or antibiotics to prevent infection if the skin has been broken open.
Visit Us for Quality Veterinary Care
If you have further questions about your pet's allergies and live in the Annapolis, MD area, contact Annapolis Veterinary and Wellness at (410) 224-6624 to make an appointment today.