Allergies and Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats
Allergies are quite common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, typically due to fleas, certain foods, and environmental irritants. Most allergies appear after the pet is 6 months of age. The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized or generalized. Other symptoms include respiratory distress (coughing, sneezing and wheezing), or digestive problems causing vomiting, flatulence or diarrhea.
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats. A normal cat experiences only minor skin irritation at the site of the bite. The flea-allergic cat on the other hand has a severe, itch-producing reaction when the flea's saliva is deposited in the skin. Just one bite causes such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to hair loss and open sores or scabs on the skin. The area most commonly involved is over the rump or base of the tail.
Symptoms of Pet Skin Allergy
It is important to be able to identify the first signs and symptoms of allergies and dermatological conditions:
 Scratching, licking, chewing or biting of skin, feet and ears
 Red, raised, scaly areas on the skin
 Bumps, crusts or pus-filled vesicles on the skin
 Increased skin pigmentation
 Thickened skin
 Loss of hair
 Salivary staining (brown color)
 Head shaking
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please make an appointment to have him or her seen at Colonial Animal Hospital. We will evaluate your pet, determine the most effective method of treatment and explain how you can prevent future problems. The hospital can also provide pets with food-allergy diet trials and has both oral and topical medication to help with the management and treatment of chronic or acute pet allergies. If left untreated, allergic reactions and skin conditions can become serious medical concerns.
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