Allergies are common in cats and dogs. They can even be allergic to more than one thing. Fortunately, many allergies in pets can be successfully treated. We at Grand Park Animal Clinic in Katy, TX, look at how to treat pet allergies.
Identifying the Allergen
Finding out what your pet is allergic to is crucial. During a pet exam, your pet will be given tests where the most common allergens are injected into the skin. Swelling during this test indicates which allergens your pet is allergic to.
If your pet has severe allergies, steroid injections help calm down his or her body's immune response. Corticosteroid injections are especially good for cats that are allergic to flea bites, since that causes horrible itching that often leads a cat to ripping his skin open.
The most common medications given by veterinarians to pets to calm their allergy symptoms down are antihistamines and immunosuppressive drugs.
Antibiotics are usually only given when a pet has scratched his or her skin open. There is often bacteria, viruses, and fungi on your pet’s claws. This gets into the pet’s wounds, which may cause an infection. Antibiotics do not treat allergies, but they may be necessary to fight infection if your pet has open wounds due to scratching.
Medicated shampoos, sprays, and spot-on treatments can help with itchy skin.
Also called antigen injections, these are similar to allergy shots in people. They get the pet’s body used to an allergen to reduce the animal’s allergic response.
Treating food allergies is more complicated than for other kinds of allergies. Although medication can be given to ease the allergic symptoms, you need to find out what allergen is responsible in order to exclude it. This requires a special feeding program called an exclusion diet.
- Feed a bland diet of nothing but rice and a protein decided by your veterinarian. No treats. This can take a few weeks for a dog, but about two months for a cat, since it takes that long for the allergens to clear your pet’s body.
- Add just one new food item.
- If, after a few days, no allergy symptoms appear, add another food.
- Repeat until symptoms appear. This way, the allergen can be identified.
Changes may have to be made in a pet’s home in order to reduce his exposure to certain allergens. This varies wildly depending on what allergies the pet has. It can be as simple as not using a brand of laundry detergent or as difficult as putting your pet on a homemade diet.
Does Your Pet Have Allergies?
If your dog or cat suffers from pet allergies and you live in the Katy, TX, area, contact us at Grand Park Animal Clinic at (281) 392-3127 to make an appointment for a pet exam today.