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Allergies in Pets

It is that time of year again, the dreaded Allergy Season. In our pets, Allergies are a common issue that requires careful monitoring and care to control. The great news is that there are a lot of advancements that make managing allergies in our pets much easier!

Types of Allergies

Pets can be allergic to many things. These can include grass, pollen, foods and insect stings and bites. These allergic reactions can vary from red itchy skin to full anaphylactic shock. Luckily in many cases, the reactions are limited to mild to moderate reactions. In these cases, there are several treatment options available for owners and their pets. But, getting the correct treatment may mean some testing to determine exactly what they are reacting to and seeing if avoiding the allergen is possible.

Allergies to certain foods are something that we have seen more of in recent years. In most cases, dogs and cats will react to an animal protein. That means they can not handle foods with that protein in it. Now, Food allergies can be frustrating because there are many products that contain these animal proteins that you would not expect. That can include flavored medications, treats, and foods. Once we can identify exactly what they are reacting to it is easier to read labels to ensure that your pet is not being exposed to these allergens. There are a variety of diets that can assist with food allergies. One of the first choices is novel protein diets. These diets are created in a controlled environment to remove the potential for cross-contamination and only have one protein that is not commonly found in pet food. That can be duck, rabbit, kangaroo or any other protein that is uncommon. Novel protein diets are wonderful for food allergy pets and with a careful owner, that may be the only change that is needed to treat food allergies!

Atopy or seasonal allergies have a wide range of symptoms. These can range from red itchy feet, hot spots, ear inflammation and irritated skin on the stomach. These symptoms can be treated but may be a reoccurring issue if the underlying allergy is not being addressed. In cases of Atopy, there are a variety of treatment options for the allergies. They may include hyposensitization shots (may take up to a year to work and need to have allergy testing done first), daily medications or injections to control the allergy. With the variety of treatment options, consulting with your veterinarian to ensure you are on the right track and getting the proper medications are super important controlling allergies and the treatment that was super successful in the past may not be as successful in the future. In many cases, treatments may be combined to achieve the best control.

We are also seeing a rise in the number of flea allergy patients. Flea Allergy Dermatitis is an allergic response to flea bites. At first, we will apply flea prevention and give medications to stop the reactions.  Treatment continues with preventing future flea bites.  That can mean applying flea prevention more often or changing types of flea preventions.

SOME THINGS TO DO AT HOME TO ASSIST WITH ALLERGIES:

If your dog has Atopy or environmental allergies, even with proper medical treatment, there are a variety of things that can be done at home to reduce the symptoms. This may include washing feet when dogs come back inside, medicated baths to calm skin, and reducing the amount of time your pet spends outdoors on high pollen days.

With food allergies, the biggest challenge is eliminating the allergen. That will require a ton of label reading and telling people that your pet can not have treats. It is also advisable to have approved treats on hand for those who absolutely MUST give your pet a treat.

 

 

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