Allergy Prevention and Treatment
Many people, even experienced pet owners, are surprised to learn that animals can suffer from allergies too. An allergy occurs when the immune system has a serious response to a normally harmless substance. For the sufferers of allergies, these substances become known as allergens and contact with them can make life difficult, unbearable and in some cases, even the smallest exposure can prove deadly.
Common allergies in pets
Just like us, allergies that pets suffer from tend to fall into several different categories. These are as follows:
Environmental allergies, also known as atrophy, account for the majority of allergies diagnosed in pets in the U.S. As you may have guessed, these allergies occur when your pet’s immune system has a severe response to something in his environment. There are a huge number of potential triggers, from tree and grass pollen to dust, house mites and even tobacco smoke. As you might expect, certain environmental allergens are more prevalent at certain times of the year.
As their name suggests, bite allergies occur as a response to the saliva transferred onto your pet from a bite, usually from a parasite such as from fleas or ticks. Flea allergy dermatitis, a skin rash that arises as a result of an allergic reaction to flea saliva, is one of the most commonly-diagnosed non-environmental pet allergies.
As many as 15% of allergies in pets are caused by a reaction to a type of food or a specific ingredient within the food that they eat. In many instances, these foods are human foods that technically aren’t suitable for pets anyway.
Contact allergies occur when your pet’s skin comes into contact with something that triggers an allergic reaction. This could be triggered by you changing your washing powder and then washing her bedding, or by her brushing up against certain plants.
Symptoms of pet allergies
Exactly what symptoms your pet will experience as a result of their allergy can vary widely as well as depend on the severity of their reaction to the allergen. However, some of the symptoms that you may expect to see include:
Excessive itching and scratching
Poor coat quality or hair loss
Swellings and infection
Upset stomach /loose bowel movements
In the case of an emergency scenario such as breathing problems or diarrhea/vomiting that goes on longer than 24 hours or contains blood, don’t delay in contacting our offices immediately, or outside of normal hours, our after-hours emergency helpline by calling 843-263-3030.
The best way of preventing pet allergies is to determine what is triggering them and ensuring that your pet avoids as much future contact as possible with the cause. We understand how debilitating allergies can be for your pet and that is why we will work with owners and their animals to determine the underlying trigger of your pet’s allergy and will support you in finding ways around it.
Treating Allergies in Pets
Despite our best efforts to help our pet avoid allergens, there are still occasions where this might not be possible or there is accidental exposure. When this happens, our veterinary team will be on hand to offer the necessary treatment to alleviate your pet’s symptoms and help him make a full recovery. Exactly what treatment is needed will depend on the extent of his reaction. While in some instances, minor assistance such as antihistamine medication is needed, in other cases your pet may need antibiotics, fluids and even breathing support. We treat every pet patient individually and meet their own, unique needs.
If you have further questions about pet allergies, allergy prevention, and treatment, or if you would like to make an appointment for your precious pet, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced veterinary team at our offices in Port Royal, SC.