Allergies- More Than Just an Itch

Allergies make us miserable. So it should go without saying that they can make our pets miserable, too. But while you’re sniffling and sneezing, your pet is probably dealing with a whole different set of allergy symptoms — and you may not recognize them as such.

When pets have allergies, they commonly show up as skin conditions. This means that your itchy pet may be trying to let you know that she is allergic to something in her environment. Unfortunately, itchy skin can also be an indicator of a variety of other skin problems that can afflict our pets — dogs can be afflicted with more than 160 skin disorders, and studies have shown that as many as 22 percent of cats suffer from skin diseases. This means that diagnosing allergies is not always as simple as recognizing that your pet is itchier than normal.

Itchy skin is not the only unusual symptom that our pets can show when allergies are to blame. Other unusual ways allergies can show up for your furry friend include:

– Darkened skin: The scratching and irritation can cause your furry friend’s skin to be darker than normal.

– Swollen paws: Paws can also be red, and the swelling may be general (encompassing the entire paw), or it could be contained to the nodules between the toes. Paws are often one of the first areas affected, and, since your pet can easily get to her paws, she may make it worse by biting or licking them to try to make the irritation go away.

– Ear infections: For 50 percent of dogs with allergies, this is the only obvious symptom! Pets with ear infections may not want their heads touched and may shake their heads more than normal. Left untreated, ear infections can become chronic and eventually lead to deafness.

– Hair loss: All that scratching can lead to bald patches. It is suggested that about 60 percent of cats who have bald spots and pull out their hair are suffering itchy skin due to food allergies.

– Excessive ear wax production: The systemic inflammation causes this bodily function to go into overdrive.

– Scooting: More commonly associated with impacted anal sacs or parasite infections, scooting can also be seen if the allergic reaction has caused changes in your pet’s hindquarters.

– Overgrooming: Pets with itchy skin will aggressively or more frequently groom themselves in an attempt to relieve the irritation. Overgrooming can be one of the first indications your pet has developed an allergic reaction to something. Overgrooming can cause damage to the skin underneath, leading to secondary bacterial and yeast infections.

– Snoring: Inflammation in the throat can cause your pet pal to snore.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you see your pet exhibiting any unusual symptoms or acting uncomfortable, allergies could be the culprit. The only way to determine if it is allergies or something else afflicting your furry friend is to bring her to see us. We’ll be able to run some tests and determine the cause of your pet’s unusual symptoms, as well as provide options to treat it at its source and get your pet some much-needed relief.