Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

April 9, 2012

Animals and Allergies

- — By Pet Talk staff

CNHI News Service

With the emergence of springtime, comes the arrival of allergies.

Although the landscape is lush, many people experience the beauty that comes with the warmer weather as well as the bothersome allergy symptoms.

Pets can also be affected by allergies and it is important to be mindful of any symptoms that your pet might be displaying.

“People sneeze and wheeze with allergies, while dogs tend to itch and scratch,” says Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and a board certified dermatologist at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

“The hallmark sign of allergic skin disease is itch that can be manifested as licking, chewing, rubbing, biting, scooting, head shaking, and/or scratching. Typically, the face, ears, paws, armpits, groin, and rump are the most affected sites.”

Patterson explains that animals with allergic skin disease are highly prone to recurring skin and/or ear infections involving bacteria and yeast.

Infections can cause increased itch, redness, pimples, blackheads, scabs, dander, hair loss, skin thickening, and odor. Horses many times will break out in hives.

“Animals tend to be allergic to many of the same things people are hypersensitive to such as pollen, mold, dust, house dust mite, and foodstuffs,” Patterson explains.

“An exception would be fleas - the most common thing dogs and cats are allergic to. Despite this, many people are in 'fleanial' and refuse to believe just a few flea bites can be triggering the itch response in their pet.”

Likewise, horse owners may not be aware how just a few insect bites could be responsible for or contributing to itchy skin disease.

Allergic skin disease can be mistaken for many other forms of skin disease. A veterinary dermatologist is trained to work with primary care veterinarians to get down to the bottom of how to best diagnose and manage skin and ear disease, including allergies, in animals. (See for more information.)

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