Have you ever had an itch and an irresistible need to scratch it?
Now imagine this feeling being permanently with you, and all over your body. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Sadly, this is the way our pets feel when they have allergies.
Allergies can affect both dogs and cats. They can manifest in different ways, however, skin itchiness and inflammation are the most common symptoms.
Frequently all that scratching leads to infections that worsen the itch and can make the pet feel painful and uncomfortable. They can also become chronic which can lead to skin thickening and hair loss.
Allergies occur because the pet’s body reacts to an allergen and causes inflammation, which, in turn, causes itching.
Allergens can be many things. Here are some examples:
- Certain ingredients in the food are the cause of food allergies.
- Pollen is a common allergen that causes seasonal allergies.
- Dust mites, mold, and other microscopic particles cause environmental allergies.
- External skin parasites, including fleas, also cause allergies.
EXTERNAL PARASITES AND FLEAS
They are one of the most common causes, even if you haven’t seen them or if your pet lives indoors. Fortunately, there are medications to treat this eliminating the parasite and therefore the allergy. However, sometimes it can be very difficult to find the exact cause of the allergy.
In the case of food allergies, doing a feeding trial with a limited ingredient diet can help identify the cause. We recommend doing a feeding trial with the guidance of a veterinarian as it is easy to misinterpret results.
ENVIRONMENTAL PET ALLERGIES
In the case of environmental allergies, the exact cause may remain elusive. In these cases, there are medications and topical solutions to help control the symptoms of itchiness and irritation.
The bottom line is that if your furry friend starts scratching and has irritated skin you should consult your veterinarian. They will help you determine the cause and provide solutions to make the irritation, infection, and discomfort go away.
Don’t ignore the problem. If these symptoms are left untreated then we risk the problem getting worse and harder to manage.
-Dr. Edison Barrientos