It's no secret that allergies to pets can you leave you scratching your head and ... just about everywhere else. In fact, reactions to pet hair and dander can make you sneeze, wheeze and live in general and ever-present discomfort.
Is it surprising to know that pets, just like humans, can also develop allergies? But because your dog or cat can’t exactly tell you what's bothering them, it’s up to you, the owner, to not only recognize pet allergens but seek treatment from your veterinarian.
Here at Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic in McMurray, our staff can help you understand and avoid common pet allergens. We can also help you to respond appropriately when your pet does have allergic reactions.
How Animals Get Allergies
Animals don't "get" allergies as much as their bodies simply react to certain triggers, such as specific types of food or environmental pollutants (such as cigarette smoke, insecticides, fragrances from perfumes or cologne, and more). Pets can be allergic to trees, weeds, grass, dust, dander, feathers, and mold ... just like we can.
Scientists note that allergies seem to be more common in domestic household pets than in farm animals or wild animals that typically spend most of their time outdoors.
How Allergies Are Diagnosed
Many veterinarians will tell you that allergies in pets don't exactly mimic allergies in humans. Whereas we get red, itchy eyes and bouts of sneezing, our pets get itchy paws, skin problems, bad breath (and other odors) and recurrent ear infections. Some also show an eventual intolerance to certain foods or proteins in foods.
It's always best to have your pet examined and diagnosed by a skilled veterinarian to help find relief from allergies. Unfortunately, many pet allergies are forever — especially if they're environmental — and will reappear each year. That means pet owners must be educated to anticipate seasonal allergies and begin treatments for their pets to lessen the effects.
Many owners will ask about allergy testing to try and determine the cause of the allergen. However, it is not always possible to determine the cause of an allergy with testing, and the process can be fairly involved and expensive.
How the Vet Can Help With Allergies
The first thing any vet will advise is that pet owners have to be fully aware of their pet’s “new normal." Food allergies can be lessened and eliminated by a food trial. The best way to treat an allergy otherwise is to avoid the cause/allergen as often as possible. In addition to lifestyle changes, medications might also be prescribed for your pet.
For more information about allergies, contact Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic — your veterinarian in McMurray — at (724) 941-5484.