Yes, Pets Can Get Allergies, Too!

By Species, By Topic, Care & Wellness, Cats, Diagnosis, Dogs, Exotic

Allergies aren’t just a human problem. Dogs, cats, birds, and even small, exotic mammals are all susceptible to acute, or chronic reactions to their environments. Many of their symptoms are the same as those found in humans—inflammation, sneezing, and so one. However, pets can also exhibit much more subtle signs.

Some of the most serious allergic reactions come from things like insect bites, bee stings, or certain foods. These can cause severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, that require hospitalization.

More commonly, we deal with chronic allergies, where clinical signs can range from red irritated skin, excessive itching and scratching, licking at paws, or, biting and chewing at the skin, or any number of respiratory symptoms. Chronic allergies can be seasonal, or year-round. Allergies also typically begin at a few years of age and, even though there are not any “changes” that you are aware of in the environment, your pet can become itchy. Additionally, even though skin issues are a common complaint of pets that develop allergies, many allergens are actually inhaled. So if your pet has grass allergies, for instance, a neighbor mowing the lawn a few doors away could set of your pets’ symptoms, without your pet ever having been in contact with the grass itself. Many pets are also mildly allergic to certain ingredients in their food.

The most common problems that we encounter with the treatment of allergies are not addressing all the pet’s allergies and not treating for a long enough period of time. Allergies many times are life-long conditions, and instead of a “cure”, we often talk about “managing” the problem.

Many allergic reactions lead to a secondary problem, that is equally serious. If your pet is scratching or licking itself because of an allergic reaction, it could develop a bacterial infection. Also, bacterias and yeasts on your pet’s skin can cause symptoms that seem like an allergic reaction, making it more difficult to monitor the initial allergic condition. For this reason, rarely will a pet’s owner find a single “magic bullet” for all their pet’s problems. Instead, we use a multiple treatment regime to address the complicating factors that also influence the skin, and its response to treatment, as well as any secondary infections.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic can help diagnose which allergens are setting off your pet’s reaction. This will also allow your pet to be able to receive immunotherapy (allergy shots) that will also help minimize your pet’s reaction to those allergens.

If your pet seems to be experiencing allergies, call us a 540-943-7577 to make an appointment.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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