Many dogs are brought to a Dog Clinic in Olathe KS with skin problems. The dog could be itchy and scratching, have hot spots, chronic ear issues or other symptoms. When problems recur, the root cause could be allergies.
Three Primary Allergens
Most of the trouble is caused by three allergens: fleas, food and dust, pollen or another inhaled substance. The symptoms can be similar, complicating the issue. As is true with humans, a dog can be allergic to more than one allergen.
What is an Allergy?
The immune system responds to anything that is perceived as a threat. When a human or animal has an allergy, the immune system overreacts to the allergen by releasing histamine. Symptoms may seem to appear suddenly, but the problem has probably been building up for some time, getting worse with each new exposure. Suddenly it’s a “last straw” situation and the dog’s body can no longer tolerate the allergen, triggering the symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
* Skin redness and itching
* ot spots
* Chronically inflamed ears
* Digestive problems, including gas, vomiting and diarrhea
* Paw biting and licking
* Itchy rear
Up to 40% of dogs may be allergic to fleas, which have as many as 15 different allergens in their saliva. Once a dog has become sensitized, one flea bite can cause an allergic reaction. Chewing at the base of the tail, a lot of licking and scratching and specks of flea dirt on the skin are typical of flea allergies.
Atopic or inhaled allergens are the second most common cause of dog allergies. Dust, pollen and mold are the most common inhaled allergens, but it could be almost anything. Atopic allergies usually present with irritated skin, chronic ear infections, bald spots and skin chewing. Genetics appears to be linked to atopic allergies, since some breeds are more susceptible.
A dog can become allergic to the same food eaten for years or a new food. Most common food allergens are grains, dairy and a particular meat or fish. Symptoms can include shaking and rubbing the head, itching, wheezing and sneezing.
Talk to your vet at Falcon Valley Animal Hospital about the best way to proceed with any allergy. Just as with humans, allergies are complicated, but usually treatable once the allergen has been discovered. Click here to contact the Dog Clinic in Olathe KS for an appointment.
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