Most Common Skin Problem in Pets: Allergies
|One of the more common reasons for veterinary exams (outside of wellness visits) involves some sort of skin or coat complaint. Many pets can develop excessive shedding, dull, dry, or greasy coats, as well as hair loss. Often times these complaints are accompanied by a history of excessive itching and secondary bacterial or yeast overgrowth on the skin.|
Allergies are the most common causes of these varied symptoms, which can usually can be broken down into inhalant or contact allergies, food allergies, and/or flea bite allergies. All pets with skin disease should be on a good monthly flea control program such as with topical Advantage II or Frontline Plus. For other pets, animal guardians can try antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine or Chlorpheniramine to see if itching can be eased. I also stress the importance of a healthy diet and recommend brands such as Halo or Nature’s Variety, along with proper nutritional supplementation.
Digestive tract enzymes such as NaturVet Enzymes should always be added to meals in allergic pets. Omega 3 fatty acids such as Super Pure Omega 3 or Nordic Naturals can help when used long-term. In addition, bathing once to twice weekly with a moisturizing pet shampoo can also help reduce severity of contact allergies by washing away allergens.
For pets with persistent skin problems or those that develop hair loss without excessive itching, a veterinary exam is recommended to conduct skin scraping and possibly fungal culture. This is to help rule out mange mites and ringworms. Further allergy workup can involve skin and/or blood testing to find out what your pet may be allergic to so that allergy vaccines may be developed for long term use.
Do you have experience with a pet that has allergies? What have you found to help him or her?