Does Your pet have Itchy Skin?
Every year the veterinarians at West Park Animal Hospital diagnose many pets with allergies. Depending on the time of the year it is not uncommon to see several cases a day. What veterinarians know about allergies has changed drastically in the past few years and we’ve made several major advances in their treatment. There are a few major types of allergic skin disease that we commonly see. If your pet is suffering from itchy skin our veterinarians will work with you to find an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan that is best suited for your pet.
Type of allergies:
Flea: Flea allergy is a common problem in Florida and can result in severe itching. Most commonly very few fleas are actually observed on the patient as the pet tends to be very vigilant about grooming them off. The dramatic itch that they experience can be caused by a single flea bite. (see our discussion on Fleas)
Food: Food allergy is not as common as you might think. While many people observe that their pet does better on one type of food rather than another, a true food allergy is usually a response to the protein source of the food, chicken and beef being the most common in dogs. It is extremely rare for a pet to have a grain or gluten allergy, but they have been reported. The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to do a very strict food trial using a prescription limited ingredient diet. This will allow your veterinarian to see if your pet responds to this change in food and then you can work together to find a new appropriate food for your pet.
Atopy: Atopy or atopic dermatitis is an extremely common form of skin allergy in pets. This disease is caused by the pet reacting to common environmental allergens, many of which cause respiratory allergies in people, like pollen, grasses, or dust mites. Clients that move to Florida often remark that their pet did great the first year, but developed this allergy during their second season with us. It is very common for dogs and cats with atopy to have seasonal flare ups, and with the right amount of planning a treatment plan can be developed to get ahead of these.