Allergies are a very common diagnosis for many of our feline and canine patients. They are typically classified as either food or environmental (atopic) allergies. If your pet has chronic rashes, skin infections, ear infections, eye infections, swollen gums or lips, diarrhea or vomiting, or anal gland abscesses, it could mean that your furry companion has developed allergies. Sometimes coughing or sneezing can be seen, however, it is very important for your veterinarian to rule out other causes before assuming that is the case.
In any of these instances it is important to consult your veterinarian about a treatment plan to help make your pet more comfortable in the long run as these are more often than not life-long conditions that can be managed with treatment. Your veterinarian might recommend the following procedures/ treatments:
- Food Trial
- Skin Scrapings to Rule Out Mite/Fungal Infections
- Steroid Treatment (Injectable or Oral)
- Immunosuppressant Treatment (Injectable or Oral)
- Ear Medications and/or Oral Antibiotics
- Topical Shampoos/Treatments
Atopic Dermatitis is very common in our household pets. It is a condition in which the skin (or ears) of an animal become inflamed and irritated due to an encounter with an air-born allergen. In these situations almost all pets need prolonged life long treatment through either immunosuppressive injections, oral medications, or both. Many of the common medications you will hear will be "Apoquel", "Cytopoint", or "Atopica".
Initially, your vet might want to start with a round of steroid treatment in order to get any severe inflammation under control before starting a long term immunosuppressive plan. Although steroid treatment is effective, it is not recommended long term as it can cause lasting negative effects on the liver, but over short spans of time it can relieve symptoms quickly.
Along with immunosuppressive treatment, your vet may still recommend a change in diet to help improve the skin barrier. Diets such as Hills Derm Complete, Hills z/d and Hills d/d can help improve the skin barrier while treating the cause of the allergies. If you have any questions about which diet might work best for your pet, please consult one of our vets or support staff here at the clinic.
Food allergies are a fairly common diagnosis in both our dogs and cats. Like people, sometimes certain foods (their proteins) cause a negative allergic reaction which can take the shape of hives/hot spots, chronic ear infections, diarrhea and/or vomiting. A lot of the time it can be tricky to determine what allergens are impacting your pet, so food trials are recommended.
It is recommended to start with a hydrolyzed protein diet (Hills zd formula, Royal Canin Hypoallergenic or Anallergenic, or Purina Veterinary Diets HA) to eliminate potential meat and starch protein reactions. It is usually recommended that only that specific diet for 3-6 months to see if the symptoms subside. If they do not subside on the hydrolyzed diet, it is recommended that allergy testing be performed to help determine the cause.
There is also the option of offering your pet a novel protein. Sometimes our pets can be picky and do not like the hydrolyzed food, so trying novel proteins is the next best thing. Such options would be Hills d/d formula (comes in venison, duck, and salmon), Royal Canin Select Protein Diets, or PVD HA salmon formula.
You can find all of these veterinary diets on our online store, but please contact us if you have any further questions. We would be more than happy to give you a recommendation!
Allergy testing may be recommended in the event your pet is not responding to treatments. At our clinic, we offer blood serum testing that checks how the body's immune system reacts to different allergens. It checks for many common food allergens including chicken, beef, grains and others. It also includes environmental allergens which include tree pollens, fungi, dust allergies, and more.
Occasionally, your vet may recommend sending your pet to a dermatologist if the skin or ear infections are quite severe due to allergies. The specialist may recommend allergy testing on the skin, but they will go over those procedures when you go for the initial consult.
If you have any further questions regarding allergy testing, please do not hesitate to ask. We will be more than happy to go through the process with you!