Information About Pet Allergies & Skin Infections

I don’t see any fleas, so why is my pet constantly scratching?

  • Fleas are just one of many possible reasons as to why your pet may be scratching. Allergies (both seasonal and food) are the most common culprit. An allergy is a condition where your pet’s immune system overreacts to an otherwise non-harmful foreign substance (like pollen, mites, or a food ingredient).  Inflammation from this inappropriate immune reaction often causes redness, itchiness, and damage to the skin, making it susceptible to bacterial and yeast infections. Secondary infections of the skin and ears typically need to be treated with medication.

What tests determine if my pet is suffering from allergies?

  • Just by looking at your pet’s skin a veterinarian cannot tell you if your pet is suffering from an allergy. Providing information to one of our veterinarians regarding your pet’s home environment, food, and when the skin problems occur (is it seasonal or all year round) is very helpful.  Serum allergy testing or intradermal skin testing may be required to determine the specific environmental allergen(s) that affect your pet. If a food allergy is suspected, the pet may be placed on a special diet for 8-10 weeks.

What is the cure to my pet’s allergies?

  • Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies. Limiting exposure to allergens (both environmental and food), immunosuppressive drugs (like steroids, cyclosporine or apoquel), and treatment of any secondary ear or skin infections is the best way to manage allergies. Our goal for treating pets with allergies is to make them as comfortable as possible while treating with lowest necessary amount of medication.

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