Canine and Feline Allergies

  • Allergies are the most common cause of itching in both dogs and cats aside from fleas/ticks.
  • DOGS
    • Most common signs of allergies include itching and recurrent skin/ear infections
    • Dogs relieve itching by licking, chewing, scooting, rubbing, or scratching.
    • Infections are typically yeast and/or bacterial infections of the skin and ears.
    • Common problem areas for a pup with allergies include: the feet, armpits, abdomen, chest, under the neck, and around the tail/rectal area
    • The skin in the areas may have an odor, be red and irritated, hot to the touch, greasy, and very itchy.
    • With long term issues, the skin becomes darker and thicker. The hair may be missing or shorter due to infections and chewing.
    • Other signs of allergies can be red rimmed eyes, sneezing, eye/nasal discharge, and sneezing.
  • CATS

    • The main symptom of allergies in cats is itching.
    • Cats will scratch, bite their skin, pull out hair, and overgroom to help relieve itch.
    • Cats with allergies get skin and ear infections much less often than dogs do, but they certainly occur.
    • Cats most often make bald patches on themselves, usually the lower abdomen is the worst area, and with progression, raw areas are created with the cat’s raspy tongue.
    • Cats often will scratch at the head with the hind leg and create scabs around the eyes and ears.
  • Common Causes of Allergies
    • The two main causes of allergies are environmental and food. 
  • FOOD
    • If the allergy symptoms start at younger than 1 year of age, the symptoms are year round, or there are any gastrointestinal signs like vomiting, loose stools, or having more than 2 bowel movements per day food allergies are more likely.
    • Most pets with allergies don’t have food allergies, only about 5-10% of dogs and perhaps 30% of cats do.
    • Most common food allergy is to chicken
    • Environmental allergies are reactions to pollens, dust, and molds
    • Environmental allergies may be seasonal with outdoor allergies, or year round with indoor allergies.
    • Most pets have a combination of indoor and outdoor allergies.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies
    • What your pet is allergic to can be determined through allergy testing
      • A report will be generated that has a list of environmental as well as food components your pet’s test sample reacted to so you know what sorts of things will cause the allergy symptoms
    • Food allergies can be diagnosed by starting an elimination diet trial to try and pinpoint what ingredients or proteins your pet is allergic to
    • Treatment for allergies can vary based on your pets symptoms, your veterinarian will recommend the treatment they deem most effective to give your fur baby relief. Common allergy treatments include:
      • Benadryl(diphenhydramine)
      • Antihistamines
      • Apoquel tablets
      • Various steroid treatment
      • Cytopoint Injections
      • Allergy specific shots can be ordered through the allergy testing company as well

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