Question: Can our pets get allergies like us? And, if so, what does it look like?
Answer: Great question! Yes, are pets can get allergies and there are many types, as well as certain times of the year that are pets are more susceptible. The four major types of allergies are: food, seasonal, ectoparasitic and contact.
Food allergies account for 10 to 15 percent of allergies in dogs and cats. Food allergies may also show up with concurrent allergies to pollens, dust, molds, etc. These allergies typically result from the protein and wheat sources in pet diets.
Seasonal allergies are often referred to as "atopy." These are the most common form of allergies in our pets. Seasonal allergies are tied to certain times of the year when regional plants are in bloom, pollens and tree sap are in the air, and leaves are falling from the trees. The highest impact times of the year for these allergies are: spring/summer and fall.
Ectoparasitic allergies are comprised of such things like: Fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes, etc. Dust mites are commonly seen during the winter months when our pets are inside more. Signs for dust mites often include reverse sneezing. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes typically hit our area during the spring and summer when temperatures are warmer or year round in the south.
Contact allergies are less common allergies, which cause contact dermatitis (inflammation/irritation of the skin). These allergies are typically the result of carpet, soaps, plastic, etc.
All allergies in our pets can cause the following signs and symptoms: Scratching/itching, redness, chewing of the feet, ear infections, hair loss, sneezing and coughing, and many others.
Watching your pet go through allergies can be both miserable and frustrating. If you feel your pets may be suffering from allergies, contact your veterinarian to figure out what your pet may be allergic to and what is the most appropriate treatment.
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Veternarian Charlie Meynier owns The Vail Valley Animal Hospital and ER, which has locations in Eagle Vail and Edwards with on-call vets available after hours and an emergency hospital in Edwards that's open 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. For more information on services call 970-949-4044 or visit www.vailvalleyanimalhospital.com.