Understanding Pet Allergies
Allergies can trigger all kinds of symptoms in your pet. Most pets experience intense itching but other symptoms can be manifested as well. A trip to Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital in San Jose can get you an accurate diagnosis for a pet allergy so you can take steps to rectify the problem. Understanding the basics of pet allergies can make it easier to care for your pet.
Pet allergies can be divided into four groups: food, flea dermatitis, environmental allergies and contact dermatitis.
Food allergies occur when your pet’s immune system reacts to an ingredient in food. Food allergies can cause skin conditions or gastro-intestinal problems. Wheat, beef, dairy products, eggs, chicken and soy are common culprits for causing food allergies in dogs; for cats, it’s beef, fish and dairy. Food allergies can develop at any stage of your pet’s life. Itching, rash and hives are typical symptoms which can be manifested on your pet’s face, legs, sides and rump. Your pet could also experience vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory problems due to a food allergy.
Flea dermatitis is an allergy caused by flea bite saliva. Pets with sensitive skin are susceptible to harsh allergic reactions from flea saliva. Such reactions include severe itching, inflammation, fur loss, sores and scabs. Many of these symptoms are self-inflicted as your pet scratches, bites and chews on his skin trying to find relief.
Environmental (Seasonal) Allergies
Seasonal allergies can be triggered by pollen from trees, grass or weeds, mold, mildew, dust mites and other allergens in the air. The main symptom is intense itching all over your pet’s body. Excessive scratching could lead to open sores and infections.
The rarest pet allergy is contact dermatitis. Allergic reactions occur when pets come in contact with chemicals found in certain items such as carpets, paint, insecticides and pet toiletry products. Itching, redness and skin irritation are the most prevalent symptoms of this allergy.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Pet Allergies
By observing symptoms, your San Jose vet can diagnose contact, flea and seasonal allergies. Blood and skin tests can verify your vet’s analysis of the latter. To diagnose food allergies, your San Jose vet may put your pet on a strict diet for 2-3 months to determine what foods are triggering the allergy. Your vet will monitor your pet as foods are gradually re-integrated into his system to see if symptoms return.
Keeping your pet away from allergens that cause allergies can alleviate most symptoms. Your vet may prescribe medications or topical therapies to control symptoms as well. For extreme cases of seasonal allergies, allergy shots may be needed to provide relief.
See Your Vet
For help in diagnosing, managing and treating pet allergies, contact Bloom Plaza Animal Hospital at 408-972-2000 today.