Not only is May Mental Health Awareness Month, but it’s also Allergy Awareness Month. Just like with people, allergies can be bothersome to pets as well. Today we’ll discuss allergies in both cats and dogs and go over the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
Allergies in Dogs
Food and skin allergies and environmental allergens are the three types of allergies that affect dogs. What’s challenging for both pet owners and dogs is that these allergies can indeed overlap. Dermatitis (skin allergies) is the most common allergic reaction that dogs have. The three main skin allergies are:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis – An allergic reaction to fleabites
- Food Allergies
- Environmental Allergens – Dust, pollen, and mold
Food Allergies in Dogs
Dogs are more likely to have food intolerances or food sensitivity. True food allergies result in an immune response, or in some rare cases, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction usually caused by a bee sting or eating peanut butter). Symptoms of anaphylaxis include low pulse, a rash, or an anaphylactic shock.
Food intolerances, on the contrary, result in a dog having gradual reactions to an offending ingredient in their food, especially as it relates to beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, or milk. Dogs are most commonly allergic to meat proteins in their food. The symptoms of food allergies include itchiness, gastrointestinal issues, chronic foot, and ear infections, and a poor coat quality.
Other Allergy Symptoms
- Swelling of the Ears, Earflaps, Lips, and Eyelids
- Constant Licking
- Inflamed, Red Skin
- Itchy Ears and Itchy, Runny Eyes
Allergies in Cats
Allergies in cats and dogs are relatively similar. For cats, allergies typically manifest in three ways. One, excessive itchiness. This is the most common manifestation of allergies in cats.. Two, a cat could have respiratory problems that result in coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or in some cases, nasal or ocular (eye) discharge. Three, sometimes allergens affect the digestive system resulting in a cat experiencing diarrhea or vomiting.
Allergens that affect cats, just like dogs, are fleas, proteins in certain foods, and dust or pollen. Although rare, some cats do have contact allergies as well, where a particular shampoo, contact with a flea collar, or a specific type of bedding such as wool may result in itchiness. Treatment for this is the removal of that particular allergen. Symptoms for allergies in cats are relatively the same as their canine counterparts, but cats distinctively could snore or have sore paws as a result of allergens.
Technically, there isn’t an official cure for allergies in pets. But medications and special diets that we can prescribe and recommend will help ease the symptoms. The most significant step is identifying what the allergen is and then eliminating or reducing exposure. Flea allergies are the easiest to tackle. If our team of veterinarians discovers that your pet has fleas, we recommend Bravecto. For food allergies, the best way to address those is an elimination diet where your pet no longer has exposure to certain ingredients. For pets that need special diets prescribed by one of our doctors, you can buy pet food from our ProPlan VetDirect Store that has the option of being delivered directly to your home. Also, reducing the amount of dust that enters your residence is beneficial for you and your pets. Dogs can also get daily medication or a monthly injection to help with the itchiness associated with allergies. Another possible treatment for pets with allergies is through immunotherapy shots or drops.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!