June 19, 2013


Does your pet have a bad case of the itchies and scratchies? If so, then let’s explore the possibilities of why…


Flea sensitivities can affect any dog or cat that has fleas present in their environment. Animals are not allergic to the fleas themselves but are allergic to the fleas’ saliva when they are bitten. Patients who are affected by this are often very itchy around the rump or the neck area. Some pets show no obvious symptoms or signs of fleas; this can be due to the fact that they only have a small amount of fleas and they groom them off quickly. Having fleas in their environment also puts your pet at risk for intestinal tapeworms, and if there are fleas in your pet’s environment, you will need to treat your entire home. This is because fleas can continue living in your home during the winter and therefore, can still affect your pet. For this reason we recommend treating your pet year round for fleas.


Additionally, animals can have contact or inhalant allergies much like humans do. Anything that can cause hay fever in humans such as pollens, dust or molds can cause skin issues in our pets. Up to 15% of the dog population is affected by this type of allergy. Like us, pets are often affected seasonally and like us they can take antihistamines such as Benadryl to help control it. Please call for an exact dose for your pet because it is determined by their size. If their allergies get too out of control, the possibility of a secondary skin or ear infection sets in and we may need to help treat with a corticosteroid and/or antibiotics. If the medications don’t help, your pet may need to see a dermatologist.


Lastly, does your pet itch all year round? If you answered yes then we may be looking at a food allergy. Food allergies occur when your pet has been on the same food for an extended amount of time. Typically animals are allergic to the protein source in the food. What we need to do for this type of allergy is start your pet on a food trial, which lasts about 6-8 weeks. This consists of starting your pet on a novel protein, or one they have never had before. It is important that this is the ONLY food that your pet receives. They should not have any treats or table food during the food trial. Please consult the veterinarian to see which food may be best for your pet.


If your pet is affected by an allergy issue that cannot be controlled with an antihistamine it is important that we evaluate your pet before any secondary bacterial or yeast infections set in.