March is allergy awareness month
There are 3 different types of allergies your pets can have: environmental allergies, food allergies, and flea allergy dermatitis.
Environmental allergies such as pollens and grasses can be an outdoor irritant to your pet as well as dust, mites, and mold which are known as indoor irritants. Outdoor allergies can be seasonal and indoor allergies may be year round. Pets will respond to an allergen after it is absorbed through the skin or after it is inhaled. Itchiness and skin issues are the most common symptoms with allergies but in some cases, pets can develop respiratory issues such as sneezing, coughing or watery/red eyes.
Food allergies can come with several different symptoms; Digestive upset (vomiting or diarrhea), itchy skin, coughing/sneezing, swollen paws, red/itchy eyes, nasal discharge, inflamed ears. A strict dietary elimination trial is one of the best ways to see if your pet has a food allergy. Food should be balanced and contain as few ingredients/additives as possible.
Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a sensitivity to flea saliva commonly seen in dogs and cats. Affected pets may have a severe reaction to even one bite from a flea. Itching and discomfort are some of the first signs you would see and if left untreated your pet can cause damage to its skin by excessive scratching. Other signs are hair loss, scabs, oozing or crusted over sores, or unpleasant odors from secondary infection. The only way to treat (FAD) is to remove all fleas from the pet and environment and treat the dermatitis caused by the allergy. Once a flea infestation is established it can be very difficult to eliminate them. Pets should be treated monthly with flea prevention. At Animal Hospital in Fairfield we carry Nexgard or Frontline for dogs and Revolution or Frontline for cats though our veterinarians may recommend a different product depending on your pet's situation.
Our technicians and doctors write posts for this blog, hoping to keep our clients informed and entertained. We hope you find their topics helpful and fun to read about!