Primary Care

Allergy and Itchy Skin Relief

In the dog, the most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body).  In some cases, the symptoms involve the respiratory system, with coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing.  Sometimes, there may be runny discharge form eyes or nose.  In other cases, the allergic symptoms affect the digestive system resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.

Unfortunately, allergies are quite common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds.  Most allergies appear after the pet is six months of age with the majority of affected dogs over age two.

A very large number of substances can act as allergens.  Most are proteins of insect, plant or animal origin, but small chemical molecules known as haptens can also cause allergy.  Examples of common allergens are pollens, mold spores, dust mites, shed skin cells (similar to "pet allergies" in humans), insect proteins such as flea saliva, and some medications.

Treatment depends largely on the length of the specific allergy season.  It may involve one or more of the following therapies:

  1. Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs
  2. Frequent bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo
  3. If the specific offending antigens are identified by allergy testing, an allergy injection serum or "allergy shots" can be given to the patient

If you think your pet may have allergies, please give us a call at 414-541-6440!