What are Allergies and Why Does My Pet Have Them?
Allergies are a hypersensitivity disorder in which the immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances. This lifelong condition is primarily determined by genetics and requires consistent treatment to maintain relief.
Unlike the usual respiratory symptoms in humans, environmental allergies in pets most often manifest on the skin and in the ears. The most common symptoms of allergic hypersensitivities are extreme itchiness and skin inflammation.
Other reactions such as alopecia (hair loss), lichenification (skin thickening), erythema (redness), seborrhea (flaking), papules, pustules, crusts, chronic ear disease, and foul odor may develop.
Infections of the skin and ears are often ongoing allergy-related issues as a result of an overgrowth of bacteria and/or yeast. Your pet may also cause infections as they attempt to relieve their discomfort by licking, chewing, and scratching. Infections can only be accurately diagnosed through microscopic cytology.
Pets may be allergic to the environment, insects, and/or food. As there is not a reliable test for food allergies, an exclusive hypoallergenic, novel protein food trial over 10-12 weeks is the only means to assess the possibility of a food allergy. Dr. Nichols and AADC can guide you through this process. However, the great majority of pets' allergies are due to substances in their everyday environment (grasses, trees, weeds, molds, dust, human dander, insects, etc.) These allergies can be easily and accurately diagnosed via an Intradermal Skin Test by Dr. Nichols.
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