While the allergy season for pets may be similar to the allergy season for people, the symptoms your pet experiences are quite different. People with allergies often sneeze, have a runny nose and itchy eyes. Pets, on the other hand, commonly manifest their allergy symptoms through their skin. Common areas affected by allergies include: face, ears, axillae (arm pits) and abdomen. Symptoms associated with allergies include itching, redness, and hair loss.
These same symptoms can also be caused by:
- External parasites: Fleas, mites (e.g.: scabies and Demodex) and lice
- Ringworm (more common with cats)
- Bacterial and yeast infections: while commonly associated with any cause of itching, these infections intensify the degree of itchiness
Common types of allergies your pet may be experiencing:
- Fleas: Fleas are the most common cause of allergies. Flea control is imperative for all pets, but particularly in allergic pets
- Food: Common culprits: beef, chicken, pork, dairy, fish (cats), corn, wheat and soy.
- Atopy: Atopy describes a heritable disorder caused by an over-reactive immune system responding to normal, nontoxic substances (e.g.: pollens) in your pet’s environment. Some breeds are predisposed: Golden Retrievers, Terriers, Dalmatians, Bull Dogs. Dogs with allergies should not be bred to prevent transmission of this frustrating disease. Testing for your pet’s specific allergies helps tailor a specific program for your pet and offers the best results. Options for testing include:
– a. Blood allergy testing.
– b. Intradermal skin testing: most specific test for your pet’s allergies.