If your dog is excessively itchy, licking and chewing at their feet, or has frequent skin and/or ear infections, he or she may have allergies. They can also have itchy, watery eyes similar to human allergies. Dogs can be allergic to just about anything and can be allergic to multiple things, just like people can be.
Allergies can develop at any time in an animal's life. Most start before three years of age. Allergies can be seasonal or non-seasonal, and seasonal allergies can progress to be year-round. Parasites, viruses, and some vaccines can make allergies worse. Secondary infections from bacteria or yeast are common with allergies in dogs. Dogs with allergies scratch at their skin and ears, which causes damage that allows bacteria and yeast to get established.
There are a few different options for treating dogs with allergies. Treatment depends on the individual animal, the allergen, timing, and how bad the allergies are. Some dogs need a combination of treatments. The first option, and usually the most effective, is to attempt to remove the allergen. Hypoallergenic foods are a good option for dogs with food allergies. Animals that are allergic to pollen or other outdoor allergens can benefit from being wiped down when they come inside and from getting baths every couple of weeks. If removing the allergen is not possible, we normally start out medicating with antihistamines, such as Benadryl or hydroxyzine. Antihistamines are strong enough to treat many dogs' allergies without causing as many side effects as the other treatment options. They work by reducing or blocking the histamines created by the body in response to the allergen. If antihistamines are not enough, the next option is usually a product called Atopica, which is an immunosuppressant with cyclosporine as the active ingredient. Atopica blocks activation of a certain type of cell involved in the allergic reaction. The last treatment option is using steroids, can be given orally or as an injection. Steroids work in several ways to suppress the immune system and decrease the severity of allergic reactions. We also usually prescribe medicated shampoos that will help soothe the skin and treat secondary infections.
Seresto collars, from Bayer Animal Health, repel and kill ticks and kill fleas for up to eight months. for dogs that swim or get baths more than once per month, the effective time period is decreased to about five months. The active ingredient is contained inside the collar and releases out slowly. It spreads from the site of direct contact over the animal's entire skin surface. The collars are available in different sizes for cats, small dogs, and large dogs.
What's New at LCVC
Thanks for reading our clinic newsletter! We have new deals on NexGard oral flea and tick preventative: Buy 3, get 1 free or buy 6, get 2 free! For clients who have cattle, we would like to remind you to schedule a couple of weeks ahead of time for working your calves this fall.