Dr. Susan Wylegala says one of the most common conditions we see in both dogs and cats are underlying allergies. Pets can be allergic to the same type of things that humans can be, so grasses, weeds, trees, house dust mites, pollens, and all of those pollens that you will find both outdoors and indoors.
Dr. Wylegala says animals can also be allergic to food ingredients and usually when it is a food ingredient it is usually the protein source. She says it rarely grains or any other alternative. Work with your veterinarian if have a pet that has underlying allergies and the typical symptoms for most pets is most of the symptoms are related to skin disease. So, Dr. Wylegala says, these animals tend to itch and have redness, inflammation, have chronic ear conditions, redness of the paws, licking of the paws, licking of the backend, those are common symptoms of underlying of pets with allergies that impact the skin.
Dr. Wylegala says for some pets it is gastrointestinal so some allergies that are food related can also contribute to recurrent or chronic intestinal problems. So many times it will require you veterinarian doing some testing and some treatment medications to make the determination whether your pet has underlying pollen allergies that may be a seasonal issue or whether they may have underlying food allergies.
Dr. Wylegala says if you veterinarian suspects a food allergy it’s not as simple as just changing the diet. You will need to do what is called a food trial. That means you will put your pet on an exclusive diet for six to eight weeks to see if the symptoms that your pet is having resolve. She says talk to your veterinarian to see if they suspect your pet is has underlying allergies. The good news is that for pets with skin problems and have itchy skin related to allergies there are number of newer medications that are very effective with minimal issues and side effects for those pets. Dr. Wylegala says many animals with allergies can live very comfortable lives and be much less irritated by their underlying allergies but it does require you to work with your veterinarian to find an appropriate diagnosis and to use the best treatment options to help keep your pet as comfortable as possible.
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