Pet Allergy & Dermatology
Diagnose and treat skin conditions.
From ear infections to itchy rashes, skin conditions and allergic reactions in your pet are more common than you might think. Pets’ skin can suffer rashes, hair loss, parasites, growths, and infections. You can tell a lot about your pet’s overall health by the condition of their skin, so it’s crucial that you bring your pet in for a dermatology checkup if you notice any signs of irritation or irregularities.
When it comes to canine dermatology, the primary goal is to identify the root of the problem. In some cases, the cause may be clear. A simple skin test can often reveal the presence of a fungal infection or parasites, such as lice, mites, or fleas. In other cases, such as irritation caused by unknown allergies, identifying the cause of irritation may require some trial and error.
We provide a number of diagnostic tools including skin scrapes, skin cytology, biopsies, and dermatophyte tests. We can then prescribe the most effective medications and treatment plans to resolve your pet's skin issues.
What can cause and relieve allergies in my dog?
There are four general types of allergens: insect, inhalant, contact, and food.
Insect. The main insect allergy is to flea saliva. Just one flea bite can cause a severe allergic reaction called FAD (flea allergy dermatitis). Intense itching, particularly at the base of the tail, can result in loss of hair and even infection when scratching breaks the skin. Talk to your veterinarian about strategies for protecting your dog against fleas. After all, prevention is the best medicine!
Inhalant. Pollens are the most common inhalant allergies in dogs. They include tree, grass, and weed pollens. While human symptoms usually include sneezing and runny nose, the main symptom of inhalant allergies in dogs is most likely to be itchiness (especially at the face, feet, and underarms). But sometimes bronchitis and rhinitis can occur. Your veterinarian can suggest therapies to help control this type of allergy.
Contact. Although not as common as the other types of allergy in dogs, contact allergies can result from virtually any substance that comes into contact with a dog’s skin. Chemicals and compounds found in flea collars and pesticides, perfumes and cleaning products, rugs and bedding, can all generate skin irritation and itching where they make contact on your dog. The best remedy is to remove the offending substances from your dog’s environment (once they are identified).
Food. Most dog owners think that their dog couldn't possibly have a food allergy because they haven't changed their dog's diet recently. What they don't know is that most food allergies develop in response to ingredients that their dog has had a lot of exposure to. Food allergies are most commonly diagnosed in young dogs (less than a year and half old) and older dogs (over seven years old). In older dogs, most have been eating the same food for months, years, or even their entire lives.
Meat sources, like beef, chicken (in dogs), and fish (in cats), are the most common pet food ingredients that pets are allergic to. But they can also have allergies to other ingredients such as wheat, corn, soy, eggs, milk, and lamb. Since the symptoms of food allergies include some of the same signs as other types of dog allergies, such as skin, digestive, and respiratory issues, we cannot ignore the possibility that a dog may suffer from multiple types of allergies at the same time. To determine the possibility of a food allergy, a special elimination diet may be recommended by your veterinarian.
The accurate diagnosis of dog allergies is a challenging endeavor. Besides an elimination diet in the case of food allergy, skin and blood tests may also be performed by your veterinarian to help identify allergies. In cases where allergens cannot be identified or removed, allergy relief is still possible through immunotherapy or allergy medication. Rest assured, we are here to help your pet find the relief he or she needs!
Skin Allergies in Cats and Dogs
Allergies are common in pets, dogs especially. Typical symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats include:
- Excessive itching
- Biting at skin and paws
- Ear infections
- Swollen, pink skin
- Fur loss
- Coughing and/or sneezing
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
- Vomiting and diarrhea
While some of these are more general symptoms if your pet consistently experiences one or more of these symptoms it could be an indication that your pet is dealing with allergies.
There are many affordable options for the treatment of allergies in your pet, including antihistamines, hypoallergenic shampoos, specialized diets, and topical treatments. Whether your pet’s allergies are long-term or seasonal, our team can prescribe the treatment best suited to bring your pet relief.
How to Treat Skin Allergies with Dermatology
Getting a diagnosis is the first step in any treatment plan. Once one of our veterinarians determines what is causing your pet’s discomfort, they will assign a course of treatment.
If your dog or cat has seasonal allergies, the best solution may be to administer allergy-inhibiting medications during peak allergy season for your pet. Temporary allergies caused by environmental factors can also be relieved through topical treatments and antibiotics.
Year-round allergies may require a different, long-term approach, such as allergy shots. Atopic, meaning inherited, allergies are typically chronic, but some of their symptoms can be mitigated through various treatments, such as medicated baths, supplements, and prescription medication.
For more chronic skin conditions, such as those caused by immunodeficiencies, your dermatologist will work one-on-one with you to find an effective solution.
Pet Dermatology in St. Petersburg, Florida
Every pet is different, so if you feel that your pet has an allergy, reach out to us at Northeast Animal Hospital, and we will work with you to recommend a course of treatment tailored to your pet's unique condition.