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Seasonal Allergies in Dogs & Cats

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Seasonal Allergies in Dogs & Cats

Postby admin » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:46 pm

http://www.vetdepot.com/in-depth-look-a ... -cats.html
What Is An Allergy?
An allergy can be defined as “an abnormal reaction of the body's immune system to substances that often do not incite a similar reaction in other individuals.”1 In other words, the body mounts a particular type of immune attack against a trigger (e.g., pollen) that is actually harmless to the individual. Unfortunately, the effects of allergic reactions are far from harmless.

Season Allergies in Dogs and Cats Infographic
The Effects of Seasonal Allergies
Most people with seasonal allergies suffer from itchy eyes, sneezing, and a stuffy/runny nose. Dogs and cats are different. The number one symptom associated with allergies in pets is itchy skin. Sometimes the itching is limited to certain parts of the body (e.g., the face or feet). In more severe cases, almost no patch of skin is unaffected. Dogs and cats may scratch and chew at themselves to the point where they develop raw oozing sores. Other common symptoms include:

Recurrent skin and ear infections
Hair loss
Scratching or shaking the ears
These symptoms tend to be seasonal at first, often worsening when the weather warms and plants start to pollinate and then improving in the fall/winter. With time however, many pets with allergies develop year round symptoms.

What Could My Pet Be Allergic To?
Common allergens fall into three categories:

Flea bites – the number one cause of allergic reactions in pets. Do not discount the possibility of a flea allergy if you can’t find fleas on your dog or cat. The bite of just one flea is enough to send flea-allergic pets into fits of itching and scratching. The obsessive self-grooming that itchy dogs and cats perform also removes most of the evidence that fleas are present.
Pollens, molds, dust mites, storage mites, dander, and other environmental substances that are inhaled or come in contact with the skin. The underlying genetic tendency toward this type of allergy is called atopy.
Ingredients in food that initiate an allergic reaction when eaten. Food allergies cause itchy skin, but gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhea may also be present. Allergies associated with food are generally not seasonal unless a pet’s diet is changed.
Because allergic symptoms are essentially the same no matter what the underlying cause, it can be difficult to determine what is triggering a dog or cat’s response.

Managing Allergies in Dogs and Cats Infographic
Veterinary Care for Allergies in Pets
Veterinarians will often tentatively diagnose allergies based on a pet’s clinical signs, a physical exam, and a few simple tests to rule out other common skin diseases, but figuring out exactly what a dog is allergic to can require time and patience.

Implementing an impeccable flea control program is a good place to start. Every itchy dog and cat should receive an effective, monthly spot-on medication like Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix II, or Revolution that kills adult fleas and disrupts the lifecycle of the parasite to prevent more fleas from hatching and maturing. Many of these products have the added benefit of also treating other common causes of itching in dogs and cats, such as certain types of mange.

Pets that are allergic to pollen, mold, dander, etc. can undergo intradermal skin testing or a blood test to determine what their triggers are. If they are allergic to something that can be removed from the environment, that should be the focus of treatment, otherwise owners have two options:

Hyposensitization therapy involving repeated injections of a serum containing a pet’s allergens to decrease his immune system’s sensitivity to them.
Symptomatic treatment with medications and other therapies that help dampen the pet’s allergic response and reduce itching (see below).
Food allergies are diagnosed through a rigorous food trial that last from two to three months, during which time, a dog or cat can only eat a diet that does not contain common allergens like beef, dairy, fish (especially cats), wheat, chicken, lamb, and soy.3 If the pet’s symptoms at least partially resolve during this time, a diagnosis of a food allergy is made.

Treating Your Pet's Allergies at Home
Because allergies cannot be cured, only managed, owners play a crucial role in the treatment of their pets. Keep in mind that many dogs and cats are allergic to more than one thing. For example, a dog might be allergic to beef in his food, mold spores, and flea bites. Multiple forms of therapy may be necessary.

Food allergic dogs and cats must avoid eating the offending ingredients if they are to remain symptom-free. Owners may choose to continue feeding the diet that that was used during the food trial or to slowly start reintroducing ingredients to determine exactly what their pet’s triggers are. These allergens cannot be included in any future diets. Special hypoallergenic diets like Purina HA Hypoallergenic Formula Dog Food are available.

Dogs and cats with environment allergies who aren’t candidates for hyposensitization therapy can usually be successfully managed with some combination of the following:

Bathing once or twice a week using a shampoo and/or rinse designed for pets with allergies. Bathing removes allergens that are trapped in the dog or cat’s coat.
Using oral omega 3 fatty acid supplements and/or topical products like Dermoscent improve the natural barrier properties of the skin.
Administering antihistamines like diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, or chlorpheniramine. Determining which type of antihistamine works best for a particular individual is a trial and error process. If a pet has not responded to three different antihistamines, the whole class of drugs is unlikely to be effective.
Treatment with corticosteroids like prednisone. Corticosteroids should always be given at their lowest effective dose as infrequently as possible to decrease the risk of side effects.
Severely allergic dogs and cats may require more powerful immunosuppressive drugs like Atopica.
Flea control is always important, but even more so when an allergic reaction results from each and every bite. The year-round use of products like Frontline Plus, Revolution, or Advantage II are a must for all allergic pets.
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Re: Seasonal Allergies in Dogs & Cats

Postby admin » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:32 pm

http://janejordan.hubpages.com/hub/Skin ... es-In-Dogs
If you have allergies yourself you know what it feels like to feel like the itch is starting on the inside of your body and working it's way out to your skin. Then you can't help but scratch it. I see the same thing happen with my dog. She'll dart out of her bed in the middle of the night and scratch her dog pits feverishly, then start working on one ear, then settle back into bed to start with the obsessive paw licking. She's a pug and pugs like to sleep, so I'm guessing she doesn't chose have these middle of the night itching, scratching and licking sessions.

Piglet the pug has been an itchy girl ever since she was a puppy. I haven't found a cure, but I've certainly spent a lot of time and money trying to figure it all out and make her more comfortable. Here are a few of the tips and tricks I now have up my sleeve.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Try These Simple Changes for Dog Skin Allergies

Dog skin allergies are tough to figure out. I've tried eliminating potential food ingredients and haven't found the exact combo and it's really hard to figure out what outside allergies might be effecting your pup. If you've already been to your vet, you know the drill. They want you to try antibiotics, special food and maybe even some kind of harsh and expensive steroid treatment. With my pug, her symptoms were itchy armpits that have gotten more hairless, stinky, seemingly sweaty and blackened over the years. I've had numerous vets try to figure out what it is with no luck at all. That's why I've turned to some natural and home remedies.

Here are a few things to try if your dog has hot spots, itchy skin, yeasty ears, goopy eyes or any other skin condition that seems like it might be triggered by an allergy.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Put it in a spray bottle, dilute with water and spray on the itchy spots a couple of times a day. Before bedtime works great for my dog, but she makes the bedroom smell like chips. I also wipe her ears down with it after cleaning them.

There are also capsules of apple cider vinegar power that you can find in the vitamin/natural supplements section at Whole Foods. I break them open and put them in her food sometimes when the allergies are really crazy.

2. A Simple Healthy Diet: Ditch the gross generic dog food and get one of the high quality brands that don't have any grain, corn, biproducts or other fillers. I switched my dog to a food made by "The Honest Kitchen" and it made a world of difference. I once tried to switch her back to a dry dog food and she immediately got a bunch of new hot spots under her chin. A few days back on The Honest Kitchen and they were gone. Another one we like is Grandma Lucy's.

3. Medicated Bath: If your dog has mild skin problems, an oatmeal bath might do the trick. For mine I had to resort to getting Malaseb shampoo and bathing her about once a week. It doesn't help with figuring out the source of the problem, but it does help her skin heal and makes her less itchy between baths. Malaseb also comes in a spray and wipes to help between baths. Just don't put it anywhere that your dog can lick. I spray the apple cider vinegar anywhere that she can get to and the malaseb in her armpits where she can't lick it. I only use the spray sparingly.

4. Detergent & household products: Your dog might have an allergy to the detergent you use to clean their bedding, blankets or even the product you use to clean your carpet. Something like Carpet Fresh, Lysol spray or any yard sprays for bugs might be what's making them itchy. Wash bedding in just bleach, no soap or fabric softeners.

5. No Treats: If your dog has a food allergy, it's a lot easier to control what they are eating if they are only eating their own dog food. I give her a little piece of her own food and she's just as happy as if it was a mystery dog bone. If you know there is a heathy food that doesn't bother them, only use that. I like the baby carrots on occasion.
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