Q. Do dogs get seasonal allergies like people do?
A. Yes! Many dogs do have seasonal allergies, but the symptoms are different. Unlike people, when the pollen count is high, dogs do not typically get a stuffy or runny nose, scratchy throat, etc. Instead, dogs tend to get itchy and inflamed skin. They will almost always scratch, chew, or rub in response to their itchy skin. The irritation can result in secondary skin infections. Common signs of skin infections are skin redness, hair loss, or a foul odor coming from the skin. Sometimes you will notice a crusty or wet discharge from the skin and you can even see the skin start to thicken overtime if the infection is left untreated. Ear infections are another common problem we see in dogs with allergies. You should contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have allergies. Many pets have skin infections that need to be treated. Your veterinarian will want to look under the microscope to diagnose infection so that it can be appropriately treated. He or she will also recommend medication to help treat the underlying itch and inflammation. Topical medication can also be helpful for management of chronic allergies in pets.
Q. What are some common types of allergies?
A. There are three major categories of allergy we commonly see in our pets. Environmental allergy, also called Atopy, is an allergy to something in the environment. Depending on the specific allergen, it may be seasonal or year round. Some dogs are allergic to various grasses, trees, molds, etc. These allergens tend to be worse in the warmer months. Some dogs have environmental allergies to things found inside of the home such as dust and storage mites. These indoor allergens are less likely to have a seasonal pattern. Allergy testing is available to help identify specific environmental allergens. Two other types of allergies are flea allergy and food allergy. Flea allergy is an allergic response to saliva from a flea bite. This can cause significant redness and irritation to the skin. Flea allergy can fairly easily be prevented by keeping your pet on an effective monthly flea prevention. Food allergy is an allergy to something in your pet’s food. It is currently thought to be related to the protein source. If your veterinarian suspects food allergy, they may recommend a prescription diet trial.
If you would like to submit a question to the Veterinarian, please send your questions to Tender Care Animal Hospital, 9809 State Route 91, Peoria, IL 61615 or you can call them at 309-243-1755. Tender Care Animal Hospital also has a location in Morton at 300 E. Courtland with a phone number of 309-266-1182. Feel free to visit their website at www.tendercareanimalhospital.net.
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