Did you know that itching and skin problems are one to the top reasons pet owners visit veterinarians? Whereas in humans sneezing is the most common indication of an allergy, in cats and particularly dogs, it is itchy skin. That is why dermatology and pet allergies often go hand-in-hand. Pets can also experience respiratory symptoms from inhaled substances, resulting in allergic reactions.
It is hard to see your pet suffer the discomfort that comes with allergies. Yet, with proper identification of the allergen and appropriate treatment, relief is possible. Skilled allergy testing is at the foundation of successful treatment and relief.
Diagnosing Pet Allergies
Sometimes by taking a complete history and conducting a physical exam, we can determine the source of the allergic reaction. Identifying the offending allergen and eliminating it is the most effective treatment.
Allergy Testing Aids Diagnosis
In some cases, more detective work is required and we may recommend additional allergy testing. This may include skin or blood testing or dietary changes. In some cases, the diagnosis and treatment of allergies can be difficult and time consuming.
One diagnostic test that is very helpful is an intradermal skin test, similar to ones performed on humans. This is where tiny amounts of test allergens are applied to the skin with fine needles. Allergic response is indicated by redness or the formation of a small hive.
Skin scraping is another common method of diagnosis. Several small areas of your pet’s skin are shaved to remove hair. A scalpel blade is used to scrape up the top layers of skin. The resulting material is viewed under a high-powered microscope.
Blood or serum testing is done in the lab using a blood sample taken from your pet.
Not all substances that cause the allergies can be removed from the environment, so we may recommend medications or other measures to control allergic reactions.
Read about common pet allergens and get more information about allergies that affect dogs from the ASPCA.
Are you concerned about your pet’s skin or are they exhibiting other signs of allergies? If so, give us a call and ask for an evaluation with Dr. Beadleston, our specialist in allergies.