Top causes of Itch in Pets: Pet Allergy Symptoms
on September 16, 2016
Posted in Pet Allergies
Is your pet itching like crazy? Exploring common causes of itch and pet allergy symptoms, treatments and causes, may be just what you need to help end the itch cycle! Because unfortunately, most people treat symptoms and not the root cause of itch.
When a pet presents with signs of allergies, the first thing to do is review the three most common causes of allergies:
and Atopic dermatitis (see definition below)
Because pet allergies are so common, and the symptoms so annoying to pets, helping with allergies is one of the most common things veterinarians do. Canine allergies usually present as skin disorders, but the symptoms can also be in the gut. Cats also get itchy skin disease, just less frequently than dogs.
While flea allergies are usually fairly straightforward, the others may take a bit more work to diagnose and find an effective treatment. Without diagnostics, it is quite difficult to tell if an itchy dog has atopic dermatitis, a food reaction, or both. More about Pet Allegies & Immunology, Diagnostic, and Do-it-Yourself and preventative tips you can find in our free ebook below.
If you think your pet has symptoms of allergies, here’s a list of some common terms to help you get started:
“Allergen” – a substance that triggers an allergic response.
“Food allergy reaction” – an abnormal reaction to food that is based on the immune system’s response to the food.
“Food intolerance” – an adverse reaction to food that is not based on an immune system-based response.
“Cutaneous adverse food reaction” – an abnormal reaction to food that manifests on the skin.
“Flea allergy dermatitis” – common in pets allergic to the actual flea bite. The allergy is to the flea’s saliva. For these dogs and cats, one flea bite can set off a whole cycle that can result in hot spots and skin rashes.
“Atopy” is an autoimmune condition that can manifest on the skin (atopic dermatitis), in the lungs (as asthma) or as hay fever. This is an internal reaction that starts in the immune system, so the symptoms won’t necessarily seem related to the trigger.
For example, your dog may be allergic to grass, walk on it and develop an itchy rash on his abdomen. His feet touched the grass but the skin on his belly became itchy. That is atopy.
“Dermatitis” defined means inflamed (“itis”) skin (“derm”).
Therefore, “atopic dermatitis,” also called atopy or AD, means red, itchy inflamed skin. Atopy can also present with dandruff (similar to eczema in humans).
Less common causes of allergies:
In addition to the top three causes of allergies that cause itchiness, there is a fairly long list of less common causes – these are often sensitivities to unusual things. Often, there is a chemical component to the allergen, but not always.
Here’s a list of the things we recommend pet owners evaluate in their homes. Sometimes, discontinuing use of one or more of these household products can solve allergy symptoms; hypoallergenic alternatives are recommended.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan