ALLERGIES & DERMATOLOGY
What are Allergies?
An allergy is an immune-mediated response to foreign substances that are not normally harmful to the body, causing an overreaction which yields allergic signs and symptoms. Allergens are foreign proteins that are: absorbed through the skin,
inhaled through the respiratory system, or ingested
through the gastrointestinal tract. Common causes
of allergies in dogs and cats include trees, grass, dust,
beef, dairy, chicken, and wheat. The most common
cause of allergic responses in dogs and cats is caused
by flea bites. Flea saliva causes skin irritation, which
then leads to scratching, "hot spots," hair loss, and
superficial skin wounds. The best way to prevent an
allergic response in your pet from a flea bite is to
protect them by using flea & tick preventatives.
Allergies in Pets
Allergies in pets manifest in different ways than they do in people. In humans, the primary signs of an allergy are a runny nose, sneezing, or coughing. In pets, the most common allergy symptoms are associated with the skin. Allergies are an inherited condition that often begin when pets are young, around 1-3 years of age. Your pet may experience seasonal allergies initially, but often the allergy
period extends and may become
year-round as your pet ages.
Allergy-related skin reactions are characterized by redness and
itching, particularly involving the
face, ears, feet, armpits, and
abdomen. The inflammation on the
skin caused by the allergic reaction
in the body will make pets
susceptible to developing ear and
Are Allergies Curable?
Allergies are a life-long condition, and unfortunately there is no cure for them. Allergies can only be controlled with treatment, depending on the type and severity of the allergy. Luckily, there's a vast array of different treatment options available that have shown to be effective in the management and treatment of allergies. Treatment for allergies involves a combination of medications to provide relief, antibiotics to clear infections, antihistamines to decrease the allergic response, fatty acid supplementation to reduce inflammation in the skin, and medicated shampoos and sprays for topical therapy. If these medications don't provide relief, our practitioners may discuss immunotherapy, also known as allergy injections, and/or specific diets to address a food allergy. Allergies can be challenging to treat, but our veterinary team diligently works with our clients to develop treatment plans to help provide as much relief and comfort to our patients as possible.
Allergy Testing Referrals
Diagnosis of allergies can be complex, and begins with a
thorough history and comprehensive physical examination.
If a patient is showing signs of a potential allergic reaction,
our treatment team will discuss specific tests that can be done to check for skin infections and aid in the final diagnosis of allergies. For allergies that are severe and/or year-round, diet therapy and allergy testing may also be considered. If our team believes allergy testing may be necessary, we refer our patients to one of the specialty veterinary allergy/dermatologic hospitals we work with. The board-certified dermatologic veterinarians at these specialty clinics have the experience and tools necessary to successfully and effectively diagnose and treat even some of the most complex allergy cases.
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Dr. Carter is one of the kindest, most compassionate people I've ever met. His staff has been wonderful too. Our pets (dogs and cats) have been going to Dr. Carter and his associates for almost two decades.