Anyone who has ever suffered from an allergy will testify that having an allergic response to something is a pretty miserable experience.
Although reactions can vary from person to person, the symptoms are never pleasant and, in some instances, can be quite dangerous. The same is true for your pet. Animals are unfortunately as prone to allergies as we are. However, since they don't understand why their body is overreacting, it can be even more confusing and upsetting for our furry family members.
Just like us, our pets can experience a number of different allergies. Identifying what is causing your pet's symptoms is essential in order for them to obtain relief and enjoy a healthy and happy life.
What Types of Allergies Can Affect Our Pets?
Allergies tend to be divided into different categories based upon the specific allergen that is causing them. The most common include the following:
The most common type of allergy seen in pets, some typical environmental allergens include:
- Tree pollen
- Grass pollen
- Flower pollen
- Cigarette smoke
- Pet Dander
Although animals, dogs, in particular, seem happy to eat virtually anything, it isn't uncommon for them to experience food intolerances - even suddenly to foods that they have eaten their whole lives. Common food allergies include:
- Meats including chicken, pork, and lamb
If your pet is bitten by a parasite or insect, he too could suffer a reaction. This is especially true of flea bites since flea saliva contains a protein that many animals are hypersensitive too and just a single bite can cause a reaction so severe that the itching drives the animal crazy!
Have you ever touched something and developed a rash shortly afterward? Pets can have the same problem. Contact allergies, also known as contact dermatitis, can occur when your furbaby is hypersensitive to something that he touches. Common things that can trigger a contact allergy include cleaning products, changing washing powder or fabric softener that you use to wash your pets' bed, paint or chemicals or even rubbing up against plants or bushes.
Symptoms of Allergies
Your pet's symptoms will depend on the type of allergy they have and the extent to which their body is reacting. However, some symptoms occur in all varieties of allergic reaction too. Some of the symptoms that you can look out for include:
- Extreme itchiness and subsequent scratching, licking, chewing, or biting their body
- Rubbing their body and face against furniture and flooring
- Skin rashes and lesions
- Skin wounds and infections
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Signs of a cold such as coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes
- Breathing difficulties
- Obvious pain/discomfort
What Can Be Done to Help a Pet with Allergies?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies amongst humans or our wonderful pets. This means that we need to help our pets by preventing their contact with the allergen that causes their reaction as much as possible. This could be by eliminating certain food from their diet or by keeping them indoors when the pollen count is particularly high. One important thing that we can do to prevent bite allergies here in Gastonia is to make sure that our pet is properly protected against fleas using specially designed preventative treatments. There are also medications that your vet can prescribe that will help to control your pet's auto-immune response to the allergen in the first place which could help prevent some of the symptoms from materializing.
The most important thing that you can do to help your allergic pet is to seek professional advice. Not only can your vet quickly determine the type of allergy that your pet has, but they can also create a tailored plan for your pet that will limit the effect that his allergy has on his ability to live a full, active and happy life.
If you are concerned that your pet might have allergies and you are looking for the support of an experienced and compassionate veterinary team, look no further than Wilkinson Animal Hospital. We understand how debilitating allergies can be for your pet and will work with you to both identify the cause of your pet's allergy and create a management plan that can alleviate their symptoms. Contact Wilkinson Animal Hospital in Gastonia, NC today to schedule an appointment by calling (704) 824-9876.