Allergies

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Managing Cat & Dog Allergies in Virginia Beach, VA

Did you know itchy skin in cats and dogs could indicate allergies? Our pets can develop many of the same allergies that we can, yet while we sniffle and sneeze, they scratch themselves for relief. In severe cases, they can scratch themselves raw, causing more discomfort and even infection. At Veterinary Hospital of Virginia Beach, we strive to find your pet relief from their itchy skin with our many allergy management options.

Symptoms & Causes of Cat and Dog Allergies

Many of the same allergens that affect us can also affect our pets. Some of the most common allergens include:

  • Grass
  • Tree pollen
  • Flower pollen
  • Mold
  • Dander
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Flea bites
  • Food ingredients (which are often not a true allergy, but a sensitivity)

These allergens, with the exception of food sensitivities, are usually contact allergens (where the substance comes in contact with your pet’s skin and causes a reaction) or inhalant (where the substance is inhaled and then causes a reaction).

Both types of allergens usually cause the same symptoms:

  • Skin that is irritated and itchy
  • Scratching, licking, and biting at the skin to relieve the itch
  • Hot spots from skin damage
  • Hair loss from excessive damage
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Odor from the skin, which usually indicates an infection
  • Food sensitivities often cause vomiting and diarrhea

 

Managing Allergies in Dogs and Cats

The first step toward finding your pet relief is confirming that their itchy skin is indeed caused by allergies. We’ll run a few diagnostic tests including skin and blood testing to rule out any underlying diseases. We’ll also send a blood sample to an outside lab for an allergy test. This test can tell us the exact allergen your pet reacts to, which we can then use to develop an immunotherapy injection (allergy shot) that helps reduce your pet’s sensitivity to the allergen over time. Not all allergies can be handled this way; however, we also offer several other management options.

Allergy management options include:

  • Cytopoint (an injection that stops the itch for 4-8 weeks)
  • Apoquel (a daily anti-itch pill for dogs)
  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Topical creams and medicated shampoos
  • Supplements with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e. fish oils)
  • Elimination diet in the case of food sensitivities

We’ll work together with you to find the right allergy management option that helps your pet find long-lasting relief.