Unfortunately, animals can suffer from allergies just like us. It can take some time to work out exactly what is causing the discomfort for your poor pet, but once the allergen is found it’s usually easy to treat the condition or avoid the allergen, and your furry friend can quickly get back to full health. Read on to find out more about diagnosing and treating an allergy for your pet.
Watch Out for Scratching
The most common way to discover that your pet has an allergy is of course scratching. You may notice your dog or cat chewing their feet, rubbing their face on the carpet or sometimes chewing the tip of their tail as they can’t reach their back. The area around the pelvis is typically the most irritated spot but this is hard to reach for most animals, so their discomfort can be displayed in ways other than directly scratching the affected area.
Allergy Related Issues
It is normal for your pet to scratch itself regularly, so the key to diagnosing an allergy is when the scratching goes beyond what you’d usually expect. If their skin becomes irritated, red or bumpy then these are common indicators of allergic reaction, and obsessive scratching can also lead to fur loss. Other symptoms could include sneezing, watery eyes and paw chewing. If your pet is feeling constantly itchy then you may notice this manifest in behavioural issues such as barking, crying or general agitation. If you suspect something is wrong then examine your pet’s skin all over – including tail, lips, ears and paws – and the chances are you’ll find signs of an allergic reaction.
When You Suspect an Allergy
The first thing to do if you think your pet has an allergy is to contact your vet. Explain the systems and show your vet any affected areas and they’ll investigate the issue. Your vet will want to work out whether this is a contact allergy (from something your pet is directly interacting with) a food allergy, medication allergy or the result of an airborne allergen such as pollen.
Finding the Cause
Sometimes it may take some time for you and your vet to work out the precise cause of your pet’s condition. A blood test can be used to check for some common allergens, but often it will be a case of eliminating individual things from your pet’s environment until you can find the cause. This may mean changing your animal’s diet for a little while, altering their feeding bowls or trying a different shampoo.
Treating Animal Allergies
The right treatment for your pet will depend on the nature of their allergy. For seasonal allergens such as pollen, your vet may suggest a temporary course of antihistamines during the spring and summer. For flea or mite allergies, a treatment or injection can also be given to restore your pet’s comfort but for most other types of reaction you’ll simply be able to reduce or remove contact between your pet and the allergen.
To consult with one of our vets about a suspected allergy, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.