Is your dog itchy? Allergies, which can commonly lead to itching and skin infections, are very prevalent in Georgia dogs and cats. Pets can be allergic to many different things, and symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Allergies can never be completely cured, so working with your veterinarian on a plan to minimize exposure to allergens and symptoms is the key for successful treatment. These symptoms can also be associated with other more serious diseases, so if you think your pet may have allergies they should be examined by your veterinarian. Getting your pet checked for allergies is a great way to keep your pet healthy and provide a happy life.

Symptoms of Allergies

  • Itching and/or licking

  • Red or irritated skin

  • Hair loss

  • Chronic skin or ear infections

  • Runny eyes

  • Sneezing or coughing

  • Diarrhea

  • Chronic anal gland issues

Types of Allergies

  • Flea Allergies - Allergies to fleas are extremely common and can lead to significant skin irritation and dermatitis. Flea allergies can occur even if you don't see fleas on your pets, since in sensitive pets very low numbers of fleas can cause symptoms, and cats will commonly groom adult fleas off their coat before they are seen. Any pet with allergies should be on an effective flea prevention program, which can be recommended by your veterinarian.

  • Environmental Allergies - Cats and dogs can be allergic to many of the same things as people, such as pollen, grass, trees, dust, carpets, or other environmental allergens. Environmental allergies can be seasonal or year-round. Blood allergy tests are quick and easy, and can be effective in diagnosing specific environmental allergies, which can help you and your veterinarian formulate a plan for managing your pet's symptoms.

  • Food Allergies - Allergies to food are not uncommon in pets. The allergy is typically to the protein source (such as chicken or beef), but allergies or sensitives to grains or other ingredients can also occur. Unfortunately there is no reliable test available for food allergies in dogs and cats, so your veterinarian may recommend a food trial, or elimination diet. These prescription diets are specially made with novel or hydrolyzed proteins, limited ingredients, and in their own special production line to eliminate the potential for cross contamination. 

  • Atopy - Atopy, or atopic dermatitis, is a diagnosis applied to dogs with severe and often multiple year-round allergies. These dogs often require multiple different therapies to manage symptoms.

Treatment of Allergies

Every pet's symptoms will be managed differently, so a consultation with your veterinarian to rule out underlying or secondary issues and identify primary problems is key. Treatment for your pet's allergies may include:

  • Effective parasite/flea prevention plan

  • Hypoallergenic prescription food

  • Regular bathing with medicated shampoo

  • Anti-itching medications or injections

  • Antibiotics for treatment of secondary skin infections if needed

  • Environmental modification

Georgia Veterinary Associates is proud to be participating in the conditional licensing program for Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic (CADI) injectable. This single injection can be effective in controlling itching for some dogs for 30 or more days. As a biologic medication, it is considered very safe and has less side effects than some older medications. CADI is currently only available for dogs. If you think your dog would benefit from CADI or an allergy consultation please schedule an appointment today.