Pets Can Have Allergies, Too

By Megan Palsa, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 19, 2018 – With spring right around the corner, many of us are bracing ourselves for pesky allergies. Just like people, pets can suffer from allergies, too. While humans cough and sneeze their way through allergy season, pets usually deal with allergies differently.

Dr. Adam Patterson, a clinical associate professor and chief of dermatology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said every animal has a different reaction to allergies, just as people respond to allergies differently. However, most animals display itch as a hallmark sign of allergic skin disease.

“An itch may be manifested as licking, chewing, biting, rubbing, scratching, head shaking, and/or scooting,” Patterson said. “Common itchy body areas include the face, ears, paws, armpits, groin, rump, and anal region. Horses may present with an itchy skin disease and/or hives.”

Allergens that most commonly irritate pets include fleas, pollen, molds, mites, insects, danders, and food.

“Every pet has its own itch tolerance, which means the intensity and reason(s) for your pet’s itch may not be the same as another animal,” Patterson said. “Regardless of the animal, allergic patients are prone to bacterial and yeast infections that can cause skin discoloration, hair loss, pimples, scabs, and/or ear disease.”

If your pet shows any sign of an allergy, it is best to contact your veterinarian so they can properly diagnose the cause of itch. Your veterinarian can also perform tests to determine the most effective treatment plan to alleviate your pet’s discomfort.

We all know how annoying allergies can be, so be sure to keep an eye on your pet this allergy season. If your pet shows any sign of an allergic skin disease, visit your veterinarian to help alleviate your pet’s discomfort.

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