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Many pets can develop allergies, and the symptoms can be very similar to human allergy symptoms. The good news is that pet allergies can be treated, but only if they've been diagnosed. Whether you bring your pet to the animal hospital because you've noticed symptoms of an allergy, or your veterinarian discovers it during a routine pet wellness exam, treatment can begin immediately so your best friend can get back to feeling good.
Allergies occur when a hypersensitive immune system overreacts to certain substances. Those substances are called allergens and can be items that cause an allergic reaction when touched, airborne substances that are breathed in, and even foods can produce allergic responses. A few allergens that are common for both dogs and cats are:
Allergy symptoms in pets can be a lot like ones you suffer when you have an allergic reaction. Coughing, sneezing, rashes and itchy skin, and itchy, watery eyes are common signs. Both dogs and cats try to relieve the itchy feeling with constant licking, and they might chew their paws. Snoring or wheezing can be another symptom of allergies if your pet's airways are inflamed. It's less common for pets to develop hives, have to swell in the face or experience anaphylactic shock (respiratory and cardiac distress which can result in death), but those are the most dangerous allergy symptoms and should not be ignored.
All of those symptoms are typically related to environmental allergens, external things they might come into contact with or breathe in. While some indications of food allergies are similar to those, issues such as itching and rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and gas are additional signs that your pet can display if she eats something she's allergic to.
Before your veterinarian can recommend a course of treatment, she has to know what is causing your pet to have an allergic reaction. The doctor will perform an intradermal skin test and may prescribe an antihistamine, an immune moderating drug, or a fatty acid supplement if the cause is environmental. She may also recommend some lifestyle changes at home such as using a veterinarian approved flea control product if the issue is fleas, weekly cleaning and laundering of your pet's bedding, increasing the number of times you dust and vacuum, and weekly bathing with a prescription shampoo.
Unfortunately, food allergies are a little harder to diagnose. The best way to do it is through trial and error, eliminating one type of food from the diet at a time to see how your pet responds. Sometimes treating a food allergy in pets can be as easy as avoiding one or two specific types of food, such as chicken or wheat. In the case of extra-sensitive pets, however, your veterinarian might recommend a prescription diet or even home cooked food.
If your pet has allergy symptoms, it's wise to consult a professional. If you've been looking for a veterinarian near Leonardtown, Brenton Veterinary Hospital provides a wide range of medical care services for your pet including pet wellness exams, diagnosing and treating allergies, emergency care and a whole lot more. We are Located at 22646 Cedar Lane Court in Leonardtown, MD, call (301) 475-7808 today to schedule an appointment.