Pet Allergies

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Pet allergies can be as hard on the owner and the pets themselves. This is mainly due to the fact that since pets cannot speak, it becomes very hard to diagnose the exact cause of a pet disease.

As the temperature and humidity increase, so does the incidence of allergies in dogs and cats. Allergies in your pet may be the result of several factors, such as flea bites, mites, atopy (inhaled allergies), skin infections and food allergies. If your pet shows any of the following signs, they may be suffering from pet allergies.

  • Skin rashes
  • Digging in their ears
  • Chewing on feet
  • Excessive grooming and licking
  • Rubbing their face against the furniture or floor
  • Scooting rear-end on floor

Insect Related Pet Allergies

Flea bites are the most common cause of pet allergies. Especially, if the pet most of their time outside and is compounded in densely populated neighborhoods.  Some of these common pet allergy causing insects are:

  • Fleas
  • Flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Spiders
  • Ticks

Cats tend to have a flea itch more in towards the head while dogs tend to bite more near their tail. The best way to prevent fleas from biting your pet is to apply a topical medicine for the prevention of fleas on a monthly basis. This is very important in protecting your pet and your home from infestation by fleas.

Mites are a rarer cause of pet allergies but can still cause a lot of irritation for your pets. Mites can cause skin diseases such as ear infestations, scabies, scabies and dandruff.  The treatment for mites involves using a drug that kills mites and also is used as a de-wormer in many cases.

Prevention of Skin Diseases and infections

Dog breeds such as Pugs and Sharpeis have excess skin that folds and wrinkles creating large areas for pet skin allergies to occur. Using baby wipes and wipes in these areas can help prevent infections of their skin in these areas. Skin and ear infections can be caused by an excessive amount of bacteria and yeasts on the skin. In these cases, the primary skin disease should be treated with the secondary infections that result.

Pet Atopy and food allergies

Atopy is caused by inhaled allergies. Pets who suffer from this allergy often bite their skin and have patches of missing hair on their bodies. Cats with this type of allergy usually develop skin rashes and scabs on the neck and head. This is often a seasonal allergy symptom and can be much worse in the warmer months. Your veterinarian can testing your pet’s skin to diagnose and determine treatment for these allergies.

Pets with atopy often have food allergies, too. In some cases, symptoms are the same so it is important to have your pet tested to determine exactly what is happening. One important difference is that pets with food allergies often have gastrointestinal problems. The treatment for food allergies is to put your animals on a strict hypoallergenic diet.

Treatments for atopy or skin related allergies often require antibiotics and antifungal medications that are either orally or placed directly into the affected area.  There are also natural foods and dietary supplements you can feed your pet in order to prevent health problems. Talk to your veterinarian about preventive measures you can take to protect your pets of many types of allergies and health problems that may be susceptible to.

After all, our pets are family too!

About the Author: Donna Spector is a board-certified veterinary internist who has practiced at the Animal Medical Center in New York and the Univ. of California.

Related Posts: Pet Allergy, Dog Allergies, Feline Allergy and Dander Allergy.

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