Dandelion Fields

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. 

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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

                                                                                                              skin infections.

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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.

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