The Immune System
Most skin and ear conditions in dogs are a result of the immune system responding to environmental conditions or food proteins. Since allergies are a product of the immune system, without intervention, the reactions will intensify with each exposure.
The most common allergic reaction in pets is flea allergy dermatitis. You may not have seen a flea on them if you keep them on preventatives, but you can bet they’ve run across one outside. Flea preventatives work to kill fleas after they’ve bitten your pet rather than repel them. The saliva from even one or two microscopic flea bites is enough to cause some dogs and cats to be itchy and scratch for days.
Hypersensitivities to foods account for 10% of dog allergies. Most likely, it’s their immune system reacting to proteins like beef and chicken. Reactions rarely occur from foods like soy, grain, or corn. Since there is no accurate blood or skin test to determine if your dog has a food allergy, the only method is to place your dog on a prescription or homemade hypoallergenic diet for several weeks, which is called a food trial. Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital has had great success with food trials and has enjoyed hearing the testimonials of how it changed their pet’s behavior and most importantly their life.
Atopic Dermatitis (AD or Atopy)
Considering environmental/airborne allergens, AD is an inherited predisposition to developing skin problems from exposure to a variety of commonplace and otherwise harmless substances including weed/grass/tree pollen, dust mites, and mold spores.
Symptoms present as follows:
- Rubbing their Face
- Recurrent ear and/or skin infections
- Hair Loss
- Skin Flaking
- Skin Redness
Secondary infections are likely as open sores begin to appear from scratching and licking, and bacteria begin to breed infection. Now, we’re treating two conditions.
While there are several anti-allergy medications available, you can help minimize exposure to these allergens by bathing (not too often, approximately every three weeks in the summer), wiping down their coat and paws when they return from outside with a damp cloth. Our team of knowledgeable doctors at Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital frequently treat this condition and can guide you with the best treatment for your pet.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Give the experienced professionals at Kennesaw Mountain Animal Hospital a call. We can help your loved one live a more comfortable life.