Allergies in Pets
Environmental and food allergens are commonly one of the main contributors to ear, skin, stomach, coat, and nail conditions seen in dogs and cats.
These allergies can be the cause of irritation within your pet's gastrointestinal system as well as inflammation on their skin, ears, or other areas of their body.
Our veterinary team at Brookfield Pet Hospital Plus can conduct cat & dog allergy testing and offer treatment options, working with you to determine the cause of your pet's reactions and to determine a suitable treatment plan based on your pet's needs.
Cat & Dog Allergies & Ear Infections
Allergy-induced ear infections are recurring and painful conditions that affect many pets. Food and environmental allergies are the most common causes of allergic otitis.
Allergy-induced ear infections occur when the allergies cause the skin barrier to break down and the wax production in the ear canal increases. When this happens the yeast and bacteria that live on your pet's skin will thrive and overproduce and provide the ideal environment for more serious strains of bacteria to live on the skin as well. This will result in symptoms such as increased inflammation, pain, and discharge from the ear.
Thankfully, relief is possible for your beloved companion with proper diagnosis and treatment from your vet in the form of a specialized diet or allergy medications. We will work with you to help you manage your pet's chronic ear conditions and help them feel better.
Types of Pet Allergies
Multiple types of allergies can affect your pet causing an allergic reaction, such as:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
It is possible for a pet that has been in contact with fleas to react to the saliva from the fleas. This allergic reaction might result in flea allergy dermatitis. This condition may cause extremely itchy skin — which can be most prominent toward the base of the tail. Your pet's skin may become scabbed, red, and inflamed. You may spot visible signs of the fleas like flea dirt (feces) or notice the fleas themselves.
- Food Allergies
Just as with humans, your pet can experience allergic reactions due to food. They may be excessively scratching at their ears or paws, and you might notice that they are suffering from potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a combination of both. If these symptoms occur, please contact your vet to have your pet assessed.
It is important to understand the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities or intolerances. Food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as wheat, milk, beef, or chicken whereas allergic reactions will typically occur suddenly and severely.
Symptoms of food allergies in your pet may range from itchiness and chronic infections in the foot or ear to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting. Most commonly, food allergies may trigger an immune response that can cause skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.
- Environmental Allergens
Environmental allergens are known to cause atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions. These specific allergens can include exposure to mold, pollen, and dust. Seasonal allergies are also fairly common and more difficult to manage as they only cause reactions at certain times of the year.
Just as with food allergies, examine your pet's paws and ears for any signs that they may be affected by environmental allergies. Take extra care to check certain areas more closely like the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between toes.
Common Symptoms of Allergies
The symptoms that your pet experiences with allergies will vary based on the allergen and the severity but some common symptoms may include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Hair loss
- Respiratory congestion
- Skin rash or hives
- Patchy, itchy, or flaky skin
- Head shaking and/or scratching (one or both)