See listings below for Flea Allergy Dermatitis and Food Allergy.
Pets can experience a variety of allergy symptoms including: red irritated eyes, sneezing, itchy skin on rump or flanks, itchy feet / licking paws, recurrent skin or ear infections, and hairloss (there may be other reasons why pets have these symptoms so talk to your veterinarian first before diagnosing allergies for yourself).
Allergy testing can be performed to determine what pets are allergic to. Some of the possibilites include: Tree, grass and weed pollens, mold spores, dust, dust mites, feathers, pillow/furniture stuffing material, food ingredients, flea saliva, and normal skin bacteria and yeast. When testing is performed, it is common for a single pet to be allergic to 20+ individual allergens- this does not necessarily mean that your pet has bad symptoms all the time. Allergies are cummulative- meaning that when exposed to 15 allergens, for example, your pet may only be mildly uncomfortable, but when exposed to the 16th or 17th allergen, the threshold has been crossed and the pet is VERY symptomatic. Our goal is to decrease the number of allergens your pet is exposed to at one time, if possible.
Allergies CANNOT be cured- they are managed using a variety of therapies- your veterinarian will make specific recommendations. Options may include: topical therapies like prescription shampoos, flea prevention products, antihistamines, prescription diets, antibiotic therapy, hyposensitization injections, air purifiers, omega fatty acid supplements, or immunosuppressants (like steroids or cyclosporins).
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Did you know that your pet can be allergic to fleas?!? Flea Allergy Dermatitis (also called FAD) occurs when fleas inject some of their saliva into the skin surface during a blood meal. This saliva kicks off an allergic reaction which involves severe prolonged itching, skin redness, hairloss (especially around the rump and tail), and obsessive grooming in both dogs and cats. Diagnosis is made via symptoms and the presence of fleas. However, not finding fleas does NOT necessarily rule this condition out.
In some cases, the allergic reaction is so severe that intense symptoms appear with only such a few number of fleas that they can escape detection. Treatment of FAD revolves around solid flea prevention- topical therapies are ok (but may not kill the flea fast enough to prevent numerous biting and bathing can decrease effectiveness). Oral flea control is superior (examples include Comfortis or Nexgard). Talk to your veterinarian for individual recommendations based on your pets size, age, and health. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may also be necessary.
Visit http://www.skinvetclinic.com/fleaallergydermatitis.html for more details.
Believe it or not, some pets can be allergic to food ingredients! Food allergy basics: