Just like many humans, many of our four-legged family members have allergies too. Allergies are a reaction from the body due to hypersensitivity in the immune system. Common allergies for pets are inhalants, food allergies and most commonly flea allergies. Symptoms can range from dermatological such as itching, scratching and rash to respiratory such as sneezing and coughing to gastrointestinal such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Flea allergies are typically an allergy to the flea’s saliva. Therefore, when bitten by a flea, an intense itching and irritation is the result. The most effective way to combat this allergy is to ensure that your pet is on a quality flea control preventative to reduce the amount of fleas around to bite. Medication can also be used to treat numerous bites caused by an infestation.
Inhalant, or environmental allergies are also fairly common especially in dogs. If the source of the allergen can be identified and removed from the environment, this option is best. But if allergies are due to pollen, this can’t always be done. There are medications that can help treat allergic symptoms that can be prescribed by your veterinarian. Like humans, some pets need to be treated year round for allergies, but some only need to be medicated at the time of year the allergen is more prevalent.
Food allergies are not common, but do occur. Typically a “food trial” recommended and monitored by your veterinarian can pinpoint the source of the allergy. Once the allergen has been identified, it can be removed from the diet.