Managing Allergies in Cats and Dogs
What Exactly Is Allergy Management?
Have you noticed your pet scratching constantly? Or maybe your pet has been chewing on his feet or prone to frequent ear infections? All of these are different signs of allergies, also known as hay fever, and there are several different things that can be done to help manage your pet’s allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, though, allergies cannot be 100 percent cured in pets. Therefore, we must focus on maximizing your familiarity, as a pet owner, of what’s causing their problem so that their symptoms can be minimized and they can remain as comfortable as possible—and that itch can be maintained!
What Is Itchiness?
Itchiness in your pets may appear in several different forms, including the following:
- Licking or chewing their feet
- Biting or chewing at their tail or rump
- Scratching or rubbing their face
- Shaking or rubbing their ears
- Redness and scratching their belly, particularly around the groin and armpit areas
All of the aforementioned are signs of itchiness, but some other signs that your pet may experience are as follows:
- Loss of hair
- Repeat skin infections
- Repeat ear infections
What Exactly Causes the Itchiness?
The most frequent cause for the aforementioned symptoms is known as an allergic skin disease. Reactions to insect bites, food, and hay fever are all primary causes for allergies. Unfortunately, pet allergies generally last a lifetime and tend to get worse with time. For that reason, it is crucial that you determine why your pet is experiencing the itchiness so that a course of treatment can be established.
How Can Allergies Be Diagnosed?
Sadly, there is not a simple way for a diagnosis to be made for pets who have allergies. In order to determine what is causing the skin problems with your pet, a veterinarian will work with you over the course of two to three months. In some cases, you may need to be referred to a veterinary dermatologist for intradermal skin testing, which will assist in the identification of hay fever allergens that may be affecting your cat or dog.
Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, a broad set of treatment options are available. Now, the effectiveness and side effects of the course of treatment will vary from one pet to the next. Among these treatment options, a veterinarian will select the option that suits you and your pet best. The goal is to choose the best way to manage the allergies of your pet for the long-term as opposed to finding a temporary solution.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Cat or Dog Has an Allergy
If you believe that your dog or cat has an allergy of some kind, the best thing that you can do is get in touch with your local veterinarian. You can talk to them about the individual signs that you have noticed with your pet, and they can discuss the next step for you and your pet. This next step may be some lifestyle changes that can be made at home to make life easier for your pet, or the next step may be to schedule a veterinary consultation at the clinic.
If you have any questions, contact us at Huntsville Veterinary Specialists & Emergency.