What is a Pet Allergy?
Pets can develop uncomfortable and potentially serious disorders of the skin, hair, ears, and nails that require medical intervention.
Symptoms may occasionally be uncomfortable or painful. With early detection, allergy testing, and treatment, our veterinary team in Denver can pinpoint the cause of these issues and develop an effective, customized plan to successfully manage them.
If you suspect your pet may have an allergy, we can conduct a full physical examination, test for numerous allergies, and eliminate other potential causes.
How to Treat Allergies in Pets
The best, safest way to identify what's irritating your dog's system and triggering her symptoms is to schedule an appointment with her Denver vet. We provide comprehensive dermatological treatment for dogs and cats, including performing a range of allergy tests to determine the underlying cause of your pet's allergies.
Types of Allergies
There a few different types of allergies pets can experience that may trigger a reaction, including:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
In some dogs, a flea's saliva will trigger an allergic reaction that can result in flea allergy dermatitis. This can lead to extremely itchy skin — especially at the base of the tail. You might find their skin becomes scabbed, red and inflamed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may sometimes see fleas themselves.
- Food Allergies
Did you know your pet's itchy skin could potentially be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities? If you notice them scratching at their ears or paws, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or a combination of both, get in touch with your vet.
It's imperative to understand the distinction between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as wheat, milk, beef or chicken.
Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the foot or ear to diarrhea and vomiting. True food allergies trigger an immune response that can cause skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.
- Environmental Allergens
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, look to your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles and between toes.
Symptoms of Allergies in Pets
Depending on the underlying cause of your pet's allergy, symptoms may vary. These 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)
Dermatological Conditions in Pets
A variety of dermatological cases are commonly seen by our veterinarians, including:
- Allergies to Ectoparasites
- Ear infections and disorders
- Skin infections (bacterial and fungal)
- Immune-mediated conditions
- Skin cancer
- Dermal manifestations of endocrine and metabolic disorders
- Congenital and keratinization disorders
These very diverse conditions may present with similar symptoms. Differentiating between these conditions often requires specialized training.
Our goal is to perform the necessary diagnostics for each of these conditions to enable us to treat them appropriately.
Using the latest in diagnostic technology, we strive to identify and treat the underlying problem as well as to alleviate the symptoms that may develop.