Allergies in Dogs: Getty Images
Yes! Dogs and cats can indeed have allergies. In fact, pet allergies were to blame for what proved to be dangerous symptoms in our cat, Puddles.
Puddles had not defecated in several days. But since it was a multi-cat household, no one really knew that fact. She was found lethargic one morning and rushed to the veterinarian.
The veterinarian was astonished at what he found—14 inches of impacted feces stuck in her intestines—all due to the fact that she was allergic to flea bites! The connection from one to the other was unbelievable.
Puddles had fleas (this was the time before liquid flea treatments like Frontline) then scratched, bit and ingested so much fur that she caused intestinal blockage to occur. If not found that day, she would have died.
Allergies in pets are complicated and not always what they seem.
Cat and Dog Pet Allergy Symptoms
For instance, airborne allergies, such as pollen, usually do not show up as nasal congestion, watery eyes, sneezing, etc.; symptoms which humans normally exhibit. Although allergies are a disorder of the immune system, the substance that causes an allergic reaction can be ingested, inhaled, touched, or obtained from fleas.
In many instances, with pet allergies, exposure to the particular substance results in a skin allergy, and the pet scratches herself frantically to relieve the irritation.
Many pets are genetically disposed to a condition called atopy, in which he becomes increasingly sensitive to inhaled substances such as house dust, pollen, and molds. This results in thinning fur and excessive licking and chewing.
It seems that most pet allergies, no matter what form they are from, come down to dermatology issues.
Jill A. Richardson, DVM, Resident Veterinarian at Zootoo.com says, "Dermatology problems take a while to figure out. They can all look very similar. Usually, your regular veterinarian will try some basic symptomatic care to rule things out, but sometimes it is just quicker to consult with a dermatologist directly."
Pet Allergies and Food
Dr. Richardson has her own story of how allergies can affect pets, even when they belong to a veterinarian! Some pets have a hypersensitivity to certain foods, such as fish, liver, or dairy products. "I adopted Baby, a three-year-old Neapolitan Mastiff from the NYC Animal Care and Control," recalls Dr. Richardson. "When he first came to me, he had patchy circular areas of hair loss all over his body (also known as a moth-eaten appearance). He also smelled like a mixture of wet musty laundry and corn chips.
"Since many skin problems can look similar, I consulted with a Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist who gave me some treatment recommendations," continues Dr. Richardson. "It turned out that my 200-pound 'Baby' was allergic to beef. Dogs can be allergic to almost anything and beef is one of the more common food-type pet allergies. So, after being on a non beef diet and weekly cleansing baths, Baby now has a beautiful coat and smells great."
Pet Allergies and Rashes
Hypersensitivity rashes, caused by rubbing against certain plants, rubber and plastic dishes, and even other pets, can occur in our pets. Any strange symptoms, even if they seem disconnected from the source it's coming from, could be an allergy.
Don't let pet allergies ruin life for you and your pet. Taking time to watch for particular symptoms and noticing even the "little" things your pet inhales, ingests, or comes in contact with will help. You will need to report them to your veterinarian during your dog or cat's vet visit.
This can make all the difference in the world and turn your sometimes-very-miserable furry friend into your happy, pet allergy-free best friend once again.
Wondering if your dog has allergies? Read this article from Iams.com to find out: Does Your Dog Have Allergies?