Allergies and Dogs – Medical Minute


Have you noticed your pet itching or scratching more than normal? Maybe licking their feet, shaking their heads, scratching at their ears? Any of these symptoms are very common things that we see in dogs with allergies.

What Is An Allergy?
Firstly, let’s cover the basics. An allergy is a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular substance called an allergen. Most allergens are proteins from plants, insects, animals, or foods.

Exposure to the allergen, usually on multiple occasions spanning months to years, sensitizes the immune system, and subsequent exposure to the same or related allergen causes an overreaction. Normally, the immune system protects the dog against infection and disease, but with allergies, the immune response can be harmful to the body.

There are several ways of classifying allergies. Some examples of classifications include:

  • The allergen: flea allergy, food allergy
  • The route the allergen takes into the body: inhalant allergy, skin contact allergy, or food allergy
  • The time it takes for the immune reaction: immediate-type hypersensitivity, also called anaphylaxis or shock, and delayed-type hypersensitivity
  • The clinical signs: the areas of the body affected by the allergen
  • Inherited forms: atopy or seasonal allergies

Thankfully, there are some great treatment options available to keep your pet from scratching!

Is It Fleas?
The first thing we want you to do is make sure you’re using good flea prevention on your dog. A lot of times we have dogs come into our office that are itching and scratching because they have fleas and their owner didn’t even know that. So make sure you’re using good flea prevention so you can rule out fleas as the cause of your dog’s irritation.

Allergy Treatment Options
Next, if you’re seeing excessive itching and scratching, come in and talk with your vet about some treatment options that are out there. One option available is Apoquel, a tablet that can be given daily to help with itching. This treatment is safe and effective in relieving itching for your pet.

Maybe your dog is not so great at taking pills. If that’s the case, there’s a once-a-month injection called Cytopoint that is also very effective and very safe. All you need to do with this one is come into our office so that we can give your pet this one-time injection. This treatment plan provides a whole month of itch relief for your dog.

If your pet’s itching all the time, that can really affect the human-animal bond. It’s driving them crazy, they’re uncomfortable, and probably keeping you up all night itching. Come in and see us if you’re seeing any of these symptoms, we can give you some treatment options that can help.


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