Allergies in Dogs and Cats - Pet Dermatology Clinic
Most children with pets in the home during their first year of life had a reduced risk of allergies. Both boys and girls with a cat at home during this time had about half the risk of being sensitized to cats later on in life, and boys with during this time had half the risk of being sensitized to dogs later on.
While skin issues are most common in pet allergies, some dogs and cats can develop respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and red or watery eyes. Some pets become so miserable from itching or secondary infections that they may become lethargic or lose interest in their food.
The sad news is that there is no cure for allergies in dogs and cats. There are, however, ways to decrease allergen exposure and to address allergy symptoms in pets. Yucca is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps the immune system function normally. It helps resolve symptoms without side effects common with steroids. Yucca should be given daily for allergies. , a concentrated liquid medication is a powerful product that is safe for cats and dogs with allergies. It can also be given in your pet's food or applied directly to areas of itching skin.Allergies in dogs and cats occur when the immune system overreacts to something that isn't really a threat. For example, reacting to peanuts, air-borne pollen, or laundry detergent—none of which should cause harm. The material that causes an allergic reaction is called an antigen. Antigens are usually proteins. The term "allergen" is often used rather than the term antigen, but these two terms are slightly different. Antigen refers to any substance causing allergies, and allergen refers to ingested or air-borne substances causing allergies.Reported concurrent gastrointestinal (GI) signs among dogs with cutaneous signs of food allergy are rare; it is unknown if this is due to a true dearth of GI signs or if in fact changes in the stool of these dogs were relatively subtle and/or were not noted or volunteered by the owners while obtaining the history. However, a recent report documented 20 dogs with both pruritus and GI signs typical of colitis: fecal mucus, fecal blood, tenesmus and increased fecal frequency. Both cutaneous and GI signs resolved upon feeding the dogs an elimination diet. Lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis has been linked to food allergy in cats and cheetahs.The most common clinical sign of food allergy is non-seasonal pruritus, which is usually generalized. Pruritus may also be primarily directed at the feet or ears. Very rarely, food allergic dogs with skin lesions but without pruritus have been reported. The most common primary dermatologic lesions are papules and erythema; common secondary lesions are epidermal collarettes (usually indicating a pyoderma) pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots) hyperpigmentation, and seborrhea. Clinical signs of food allergy have been reported in Cocker Spaniels identical to the idiopathic seborrhea associated with that breed. Food allergy as the underlying cause of idiopathic onychodystrophy (misshapen, splitting claws [nails]) has been reported in two dogs. Food allergy in cats may present as pruritus of the head and face, milliary dermatitis, or one of the manifestations of the eosinophilic granuloma complex.Sensitization to domestic pets, particularly cats and dogs, is an important risk factor for allergic diseases, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. Although cat and dog allergens are known asthma triggers and can influence disease severity among sensitized individuals, their role in the development of sensitization and allergic disease is less clear and has remained a subject of debate. Recent studies suggest that pet exposure, particularly in early childhood, may have beneficial effects and may actually prevent the development of atopic disorders. In this issue of the Journal, the longitudinal investigation by Mandhane and coworkers provides further evidence that exposure to the most common pets, cats and dogs, lowers the risk of developing allergic sensitization, not only in children but also in young adults.