Pets like dogs and cats can experience three different types of allergies:
- Flea allergy: The bite of a flea on your dog or cat causes an intense allergic reaction resulting in itchy skin lasting up to two weeks.
- Food allergy: Something in the diet of your dog or cat triggers a reaction such as itchy skin, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal problems.
- Skin allergy: An allergen or outside substance that is inhaled or comes into contact with the skin cause extremely itchy skin that can lead to skin infections or other skin injuries from excessive scratching. Skin allergies are known at atopic dermatitis.
What is Pet Allergy Testing?
The most common type of allergy testing for pets is a skin or blood test that determines if your dog or cat has atopic dermatitis. In a skin test, Dr. Whitworth, Dr. Buird and the staff at Patton Chapel Animal Clinic shave an area of fur on your pet. Dr. Whitworth or Dr. Buird will inject small amounts of the various allergens under your animal’s skin. These irritants will include a range of possible allergens that your animal may encounter in their normal environment.
In a blood or serum test, a vial of your pet’s blood will be taken and subsequently analyzed in a laboratory for which allergens specific to your pet’s environment could be causing the allergic reaction.
In order to test for a food allergy, your pet will have to eat a specialized, prescription diet for 12 weeks. No table food and no treats. After your pet’s symptoms go away, you will begin adding old food back into their diet in order to determine which ones are causing problems. Because the prescription diet includes specific instructions on creating balanced meals, Dr. Whitworth or Dr. Buird will create a plan for you to follow to ensure your pet receives a important nutrients while remaining on the specialized diet.
Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs & Cats
Common symptoms of allergies in dogs and cats include:
- Itchy, red skin
- Itchy skin near the base of the tail
- Ear infections
- Noticeable increase in scratching
- Constant chewing or licking of paws
Common Causes of Allergies in Pets
Although some environmental allergens may be specific to certain regions of Birmingham, common irritants include
- Tree Pollen
- Dust Mites
- Cleaning Products
- Other household materials and fabrics