Could your pets skin irritations be allergies?
by NW Vet Staff
Pets with chronic skin conditions are sometimes irritated and often downright miserable. As pet owners we try to do our best to keep them comfortable, but that can be difficult if we do not know the underlying cause of the problem.
Symptoms of chronic skin conditions are itching, flaking, odor, oily or greasy skin, ear infection, licking and chewing. These symptoms can also lead to more serious issues such as chronic yeast infections, hot spots, scabs, and hair loss.
It is important to know that there are many ways to treat the symptoms and give your pet temporary relief, but chronic skin irritation is never a standalone issue. It is always associated with an underlying, undiagnosed condition which must be addressed before your pet’s symptoms can be alleviated. Your pet’s Veterinarian can treat your pet’s symptoms with things such as antihistamines and cortico-steroids, but the relief will be temporary and your pet will have to return for more treatment the next time symptoms appear.
The most common causes are Environmental allergies and food allergies.
Symptoms are often the same for both so the only way to know for sure is to test for environmental allergies and your Veterinarian will treat your pet depending on the results. Environmental allergens could be trees, bushes grass, dust or even dander from your other pets!
If the Veterinarian determines that your pet has environmental allergies, there will be a special treatment created for your pet that can slowly lessen the effect the allergens will have and even eliminate the symptoms all together. For more information, see this story of Nanook’s success with the allergy treatment. http://www.nwvetassociates.com/blog/blog/client-success-stories/nanooks-tails-of-success
During this process your pet may be on medications to help with the presenting symptoms as well as the specially formulated serum (oral or injections) which will be an ongoing regimen for at least 6 months to a year or until symptoms are alleviated.
If the Veterinarian decides that your pet has some kind of food allergy, it becomes more of a trial process. They will work with you to create a diet plan that will eliminate common allergens slowly to determine which foods your pet reacts to. During the process your pet might be on different hypoallergenic foods for a few months to a year or so, as well as medications to help with the presenting symptoms until the allergy can be identified and a permanent diet plan formed.
As you can see, it is not difficult to identify and treat the underlying issues associated with skin conditions, but it can take some time. Schedule an appointment with one of our Veterinarians to start the process. The sooner we determine the cause of your pets discomfort, the sooner your pet can begin treatment and start to feel better.