Did you know that animals get skin allergies just like we do?
If you notice your pet itching and scratching more than usual, it could indicate a skin allergy and needs to be addressed quickly to prevent discomfort and damage to the skin.
Dust mites, grass, pollens are very common allergens that pets can develop allergies to. Allergens are typically inhaled or contacted to the skin on exposure, and the subsequent allergic response triggers itching in the pet. The itching can manifest as a generalized or localized itch.
If you see your pet constantly biting and chewing at its feet until it is red raw post outdoor walks and activities in the grass, it could indicate a potential grass allergy. Wiping or washing paws, or using booties after outdoor activities can help remove potential allergens that trigger this response. A good wipe down of the body surface also helps.
For dustmites, it can get a little trickier. Our pets secrete natural oils in their skin as a protective barrier and excessive washing can strip away this protective barrier, making them more susceptible to allergies.
Dustmites love living in our upholstery and bedding, and if your pet has a known allergy to dustmites, it is recommended to keep such items to a minimum or clean them regularly. Pet beddings should be washed often, at least once in 2 weeks to reduce dustmite populations. Upholstery, couches and carpets are recommended to be vacuumed regularly too.
Flea Bite Allergy
This has been touched upon in our previous blogpost and is caused by flea ectoparasites. It is important to keep up to date with your pet's monthly ectoparasitic prevention programme to reduce this risk.
Some pets have a genetic predisposition to become more prone to allergies that include the above. The diagnosis of atopy typically involves a series of elimination and sensitivity tests by a veterinarian to remove possibilities of diet and other primary sources of allergies. Management is lifelong and pretty easy as long as the pet owner is actively involved and in tune with the pet's regular habits and behaviours. Medications such as Apoquel, Atopica, Steroids and Anti-Histamines, are typically part of an atopy management routine, to disrupt the allergy cycle and reduce itching.
Diets also play a big part in allergies and our pet's skin and coat health. Did you know that many pets are actually allergic to chicken and beef!!
Specially formulated hypoallergenic and anallergenic diets are available to help manage pets with atopy and food sensitivities. Novel protein diets are also a useful substitute in managing diet sensitive pets. Proteins such as Kangaroo, Crocodile, Fish, Pork can be great alternatives in elimination diets.
If you suspect your pet to have any of the above, do make an appointment with your preferred registered veterinarian to get the appropriate diagnosis and management plan!