What Causes Pet Allergies?
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Many inexperienced pet owners, and even some who have had a domestic animal for a while, are surprised to learn that our pets can be just as prone to developing allergies as we are. All pets are different, and what triggers an allergy in one may have absolutely no effect in another. In other scenarios, what begins as a season allergy, such as to pollen, could develop into a year-round problem for your pet.
As caring and responsible owners, we can support our pets by helping to identify the source of their allergy and taking steps to minimize their exposure. Like us, they can also be prescribed some medications to help reduce their suffering.
Types of allergy that your pet could suffer from
Much like humans, pet allergies tend to be easily sorted in to one of a number of classifications.
This is the most common type of allergy seen in domestic pets in the U.S. Also referred to as atrophy, environmental allergies occur when your furbaby is exposed to something in his environment that his immune system reacts too. This could be tree pollen, grass pollen, house mites, dust or tobacco smoke. Some environmental allergies, such as that to pollen, may peak during certain seasons where the irritant is more prevalent, whereas an intolerance of tobacco smoke will be present all year round.
Symptoms of an environmental allergy
- Respiratory difficulties including wheezing and coughing
- Persistent itching and scratching
- Skin that is red, scabbed or showing signs of infection
- Thinning or discolored coat
- The pads of his feet may be itchy, swollen or red
- His ears may appear swollen, red, waxy or may be emitting a foul smell
Fleas and ticks are very common external parasites that can affect domestic animals, and both have saliva that contains toxins that can cause your pet to experience an allergic reaction. In fact, flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common types of non-environmental allergies that veterinarians in the U.S. see.
Symptoms of a bite allergy
- Extreme itching and scratching, particular in the area where the bite is
- Licking/grooming the affected area
- Sore, red and broken skin around the bite
- Hair loss around the bite
- Potential infection
Approximately 10 to 15% of all allergies seen in cats and dogs stem from intolerances to food that they have eaten. In many cases, they occur as a result of human food that they shouldn’t really be consuming, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the reaction. Our veterinarian may recommend that your pet follows an elimination diet to try and identify the cause of the allergy.
Symptoms of a food allergy
- Recurrent ear problems including yeast infections
- Skin infections that improve with antibiotics, but recur once the medication is stopped
- Loose or increased bowel movements
- Persistent itching of her trunk, limbs, face, feet and anus
Unsurprisingly, this type of allergy is brought about by something that your pet has come into contact with. There can be many different things that cause a contact allergy, also known as contact dermatitis, including brushing against specific plants or flowers, a new fabric softener used to wash her bedding, or standing in an irritant such as weed killer or specific type of grass.
Symptoms of a contact allergy
- Intense itching
- Red, itchy, raised bumps on the area that has come into contact with the irritant
- Scabs or blistering
- Possible skin infection
If your pet is suffering from the symptoms of an allergy, but you are unsure what is causing it, seek the advice and support of our veterinary team. They will be able to work with you to treat your pet’s unpleasant symptoms and identify the source of the allergy so that your pet can avoid it in the future. Contact us today for further advice.