What is an Allergy?
Many cases of ear, skin, stomach, coat and nail conditions in pets can be linked to food or environmental allergies.
Allergies can cause gastrointestinal distress or inflammation of the skin, ears, or other areas of the body.
Our allergy testing and treatment methods will work with you to determine the cause of your pet's discomfort.
We can perform a physical exam while testing for numerous allergies to find the cause of the problem.
Types of Allergies
Pets may experience a number of different allergies. Each kind of allergy may cause different reactions, depending on their root cause.
The kinds of allergies that pets may experience include:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
In some dogs, a flea's saliva will trigger an allergic reaction that can result in flea allergy dermatitis. This can lead to extremely itchy skin — especially at the base of the tail. You might find their skin becomes scabbed, red, and inflamed. Other signs of fleas include flea dirt (feces), and you may sometimes see fleas themselves.
- Food Allergies
Did you know your pet's itchy skin could potentially be a symptom of food allergies or sensitivities? If you notice them scratching at their ears or paws, along with potential gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or a combination of both, get in touch with your vet.
It's imperative to understand the distinction between food allergies and food sensitivities (intolerances). Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are a gradual reaction to a specific ingredient such as wheat, milk, beef, or chicken.
Symptoms can range from itchiness and chronic infections in the foot or ear to diarrhea and vomiting. True food allergies trigger an immune response that can cause skin conditions such as hives and facial swelling.
- Environmental Allergens
Atopic dermatitis or atopic allergic reactions can stem from environmental allergens, including mold, pollen, and dust. Seasonal allergies can also be a frustrating issue, as they may only affect your dog during certain seasons or times of the year.
Similar to food allergies, look to your dog’s paws and ears for clues that they may be suffering from environmental allergies. Also do a quick check of the muzzle, around the eyes, wrists, underarms, ankles, and between toes.
Diagnosing Allergies in Pets
Depending on the underlying cause of your pet's allergy, symptoms may vary. These symptoms may include hair loss, sneezing, a runny nose, respiratory congestion, and head shaking.
Following a preliminary exam, and ruling out other possible causes for your pet's symptoms, we may recommend one of the following allergy tests for your pet.
Intradermal Allergy Testing for Pets
Intradermal testing is the gold standard in allergy testing for environmental allergies.
A sedative is given to relax your pet, an area on the side is shaved, and multiple different allergens that are common to the Southeast are injected into the skin.
The test site is then examined at 20 minutes and again at 2 hours to detect which allergens created a red, raised reaction.
Serum Allergy Testing for Pets
Serum allergy testing for pets involves taking small sample of your pet's blood for diagnostic evaluation.
Your dog or cat's serum will be tested for sensitivity to a number of potential allergens including pollen from trees, grasses, weeds and shrubs as well as fungi, house dust and mites, and a range of potential food ingredients that are common in commercial dog and cat food preparations.