Is your dog or cat scratching or chewing? Are they licking their feet incessantly and driving you bonkers? Is your pet shaking/scratching their ears? These are signs that your pet may have allergies. Allergies can be extremely frustrating for pets and their pet parent. Allergies can also develop and any life stage, but the most common time to see allergies
arrive is in young adults.
In pets we think of allergies in 3 broad categories:
- Food allergy
- Environmental/inhalant allergies
- Contact allergies
We typically see food allergies year round. Dogs and cats can be allergic to many different ingredients in their food, the most common of these are the protein and/or the carbohydrate portion of the food. Beef and chicken are common food allergies in our
pets, but pets can develop an allergy to many different ingredients. There are tests that we can do to determine the allergen, which include skin tests and blood tests. We can also do a food elimination trial. In a food elimination trial, we start your pet on a hypoallergenic diet for 6-8 weeks. After that time frame, if your pet’s clinical signs have subsided or resolved, we can then proceed with a food challenge if desired. In a food challenge, we expose yo
ur pet to one ingredient at a time to see if their clinical signs return. Hypoallergenic diets are designed as maintenance diets, so your pet can stay on them longterm. There are several different prescription hypoallergenic diets available, and we can help you choose the diet that is right for your pet.
Environmental allergies are typically seasonal. Springtime is a very common time to see allergies pop up. In some pets it is a mild licking/chewing/scratching for a few weeks. In other pets, the clinical signs can be constant leading to skin sores and infec
tions. In these cases, your pet may need to be on medications to help control the itch. There are several medication options available to treat seasonal allergies. We can help customize a treatment plan to help your pet be more comfortable.
Contact allergies are just what they sound like. Something your pet has come into contact that is causing an allergic reaction. This can be household items such as cleaners, detergents, and fabric softeners. They can also have contact allergies from vegetation outside. Flea allergies also fall into this category. In Colorado, we don’t see a ton of fleas, but we can see them. There are many flea and tick preventatives available to help manage these problems.
Allergies can be frustrating to manage. Unfortunately, many of our pets fit into more than one allergy category. We want to partner with you to help diagnose and treat your pet’s allergies so we can all live more comfortably. Call today to set up your appointment to discuss your pet’s itchy issues.