The Often Misunderstood Symptoms of Pet Allergies
When you think of allergy symptoms, what comes to mind? Sneezing is likely at the top of the list. However, symptoms in our pets are often overlooked, mainly because of our association with human allergies. When it comes to pet allergies, symptoms vary greatly depending on the animal and type of allergy.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
If your dog suffers from chronic scratching or itchy skin, he or she may be experiencing an allergic reaction to fleas – specifically, their saliva.
Sometimes, this allergy goes unnoticed because a pet parent has examined the skin and does not see visible signs of fleas. However, for pets with this allergic response, it only takes a few fleas to trigger a reaction. Unfortunately, this allergy is quite common and can cause discomfort weeks after the fleas have been controlled.
Food is another elusive cause of pet allergies because symptoms aren’t always what we expect (e.g., vomiting and diarrhea). Instead, symptoms typically impact the skin, ears, paws, and eyes.
Food-based pet allergies are often related to ingredients in pet food, including beef, chicken, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, and milk. Determining which foods trigger the allergy is commonly assessed through the elimination diet and treated with nutritional changes.
This broad category includes airborne and contact allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, dander, and chemicals (detergents, soaps, etc.). Although there are some allergens that show up in greater force seasonally, atopic dermatitis seems to remain a problem for pets year-round. This is especially true in climates such as ours, where pollen counts can be high throughout the year.
Symptoms of Pet Allergies
Among our four-legged companions, the itchy, scratchy discomfort of allergies typically manifest as disorders of the skin. Signs to watch for include:
- Excessive licking, chewing, and biting
- Chronic scratching
- Rolling on, scooting, or rubbing the back
- Sores, bleeding skin
- Hair loss
- Ear inflammation
Left untreated, dermatitis can lead to more severe conditions, such as infection.
Sometimes (particularly in felines) upper respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, watery eyes, or discharge from the nose/eyes will be present. However, in most cases, pet owners will primarily notice symptoms related to the skin.
Getting Help for Your Pet
Unlike our own seasonal bouts of sneezing and watery eyes, pet allergies can cause more serious health problems. If left untreated or inaccurately diagnosed, they can also create a lot of discomfort for your fur friend.
If your pet’s scratching has increased or you notice some of the aforementioned signs, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Our team can provide relief and can help your pet better cope with the chronic irritation of allergies.
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Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!