Paw Prints: Determine the Source of Your Pet’s Allergy for Good Health | Valley life
Many of us suffer from allergy symptoms in spring and summer. Anyone who has had watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing is aware of the unpleasantness of allergies. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about one in five dogs in the United States suffer from allergies. What is an allergy? An allergy is a disease that develops from a reaction of the immune system to a substance. Cats and dogs will react by licking and scratching, which will eventually cause skin infection or irritation, hair loss and/or ear infection. Allergies are not life-threatening, but the symptoms can be uncomfortable for your pet.
According to Dr. Jeanne Budgin, ASPCA veterinary dermatologist at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, “It is extremely important for the comfort and health of your pet to determine the source of the allergy and treat it appropriately.” A dog or cat can have a reaction to an allergen through inhalation, ingestion or physical contact. Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats and dogs. A flea bite can be itchy for up to three weeks.
Allergies and skin disorders can also be caused by poor diet or foods. Although symptoms are usually skin-related, some may include intestinal upset with vomiting and diarrhea. Food allergies can also be combined with other allergies. Molds, pollens, house dust mites and other allergenic substances can cause airborne allergies which can cause itching that can affect your pet. Some allergy symptoms are caused by tree pollens, with grass allergies occurring as tree pollens decrease. Currently, oak and grass are the primary pollens in the environment that have the potential to travel many miles.
Dr. Autumn Drouin, DVM, ND recommends first eliminating skin parasites such as mites, fleas, ringworm (fungus), and any general illnesses. Examine your pet’s environment when considering allergens and irritants (pollens, plastics, nylon, wool, pesticides, chemicals, etc.). Drouin also insists on the importance of a good diet in order to support the immune system.