Pet Allergy Testing, Treatment, & Prevention
Is your pet scratching and chewing at his skin? Does your dog constantly rub his face and lick his paws? Does your cat groom themselves until they are bald? If so, you are not alone. Skin problems are common in pets, but they have a variety of causes and their symptoms can look very different.
Here are some signs that your pet might have a skin problem:
- Excessive Licking, Chewing, Biting, or Scratching
- Hair Loss
- Changes in the Skin: Sores, Scabs, Flaky Skin
- Runny, Itchy Eyes
- Itchy Ears, Red and Inflamed Ear Canals, Ear Discharge
- Head Shaking
- Body Odor
- Foot Chewing
If your pet is showing any of these signs, please call us immediately. Skin problems and ear infections in dogs are easier to treat early, when the signs first appear. Waiting to seek treatment can sometimes result in complications that make treatment more difficult—and more expensive.
Although there are many possible symptoms of skin problems in dogs and cats, fortunately, most of the causes fall into only a few categories: skin parasites, skin infections, and allergies.
The most common reason pets are itchy is fleas. These tiny parasites can live on your pet’s skin beneath the hair coat, and survive by biting your pet and ingesting their blood. Not all dogs and cats seem bothered by fleas. However, most pets will become very itchy when they have fleas, which means they are likely allergic to flea saliva. In flea-allergic animals, even one fleabite can cause a reaction.
We offer safe and effective flea prevention that will defend your pet and help keep fleas away. Given the warm weather, flea preventative is a necessity year-round in Florida. We recommend Nexgard for dogs (a tasty once a month oral flea/tick medication) as well as topical Bravecto and Revolution for cats.
We know there are many flea and tick preventatives on the market today. We have chosen these options for their safety and effectiveness. To learn more about these preventatives, please come in and speak with one of our team members. If you prefer a different flea preventative, please visit our home delivery service for a wide range of options and products.
Itching in dogs is commonly related to allergies. Flea saliva is just one of many pet allergens. Dogs and cats can be allergic to virtually anything in the environment, such as dust mites, dander (cat, human, etc.), pollen, grasses, mold spores, and more.
Many pets have seasonal allergies. These are most likely caused by environmental allergies (also known as Atopic Dermatitis). Although relatively uncommon, pets can also have food allergies. The best way to determine food allergies is with a food trial and not with pet allergy testing. Pets can develop a food allergy at any time in their life—even if they have been eating the same food all along!
Pet Allergy Testing & Treatment
The best way to help your pet is to discover why they are itching. Our veterinarians will perform a full physical exam, closely examine the skin, and may perform diagnostic tests to determine exactly why your pet is itchy. If environmental allergies are suspected, we will likely recommend allergy testing.
Allergic pets can receive allergy shots to desensitize them to the allergen. Although this is not an immediate cure, allergy hypo-sensitization can be implemented for your pet’s specific allergy needs.
This type of targeted immunomodulation therapy can help 70-75% of allergic pets to decrease symptoms, decrease their need for other medications, and address the cause of the allergies, not just the symptoms.
Other Allergy Treatment Options
There are various effective treatments of canine and feline allergies, which may include a combination of long-established therapies like antihistamines, shampoos and fish oil, or new treatment options, like Apoquel or Cytopoint.
- Apoquel – a daily oral medication that stops allergic itching in dogs without many of the negative side effects of steroids.
- Cytopoint – a convenient injection given once every 4-8 weeks. This is a biological therapy: a type of non-pharmaceutical treatment that works like your dog’s own immune system.
Remember, there is no exact cure for the allergic dog. Managing allergies in your dog is an ongoing process. Secondary infections of the skin, eyes, and ears may develop, despite your best efforts.
Don’t lose heart! Commit yourself to giving ongoing quality care to your pet. Our team at Healthy Pets Veterinary Care is here to help you.
Are you Looking for Dermatology in Boca Raton, FL?
Visit us in Boca Raton or Delray Beach, FL to learn more about our exceptional team and the services we provide to keep your pets healthy, healthy and by your side. To learn more about dermatology for pets, contact us today at 561-922-7948!