Pet Allergy Testing and Treatments

 
Does your dog or cat experience excessive itching, chewing, licking, and red or inflamed skin during certain times of the year or all year round? Do you notice red inflamed areas of skin on the body, legs, armpits, neck, and head of your pet? There may be discharge (puss, blood) or scabs present, and areas of hair loss (patchy or overall). Your pet may be experiencing allergies. Pets can have environmental allergies (mold, dander, dust mites, wool for example). They can also have seasonal allergies (allergic to trees, grasses, pollens, or weeds during certain seasons). Pets could be allergic to proteins, grains, vegetables, etc. in the foods and treats they eat. Similar to people, pet allergies can be caused by genes that make your pet more likely to have a strong reaction when exposed to allergens.

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Common Pet Allergy Symptoms:

  • Inflamed, red skin
  • Painful and itchy skin
  • Chewing at feet
  • Persistent licking
  • Hot spots
  • Scabbing
  • Rubbing at face and ears
  • Wheezing
  • Hair loss

Pet Allergy Testing:

The first step in diagnosing and treating your pet is a taking a thorough history and completing a physical exam. Our team will perform skin testing, to include tape cytology to check for infection, skin scraping to check for mite infestations, flea combing to check for flea infestations, and a skin biopsy if indicated.

We may also recommend some general blood testing (chemistry panel and complete blood count) to check organ function and for infections. Furthermore, our veterinary team will want to draw blood and check your pet's thyroid level (hypothyroidism can cause, or make worse, many skin conditions).

Depending on your pet’s history and symptoms, we may recommend blood allergy testing (Midwest environmental and food panels) through VARL (Veterinary Allergy Reference Lab). This can take approximately 2 to 3 weeks to receive results, and it gives us a better idea to what your pet is reacting.
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Jennifer Arneson has over 20 years of experience managing allergies in pets. Her broad knowledge of the field has helped many pets lead happier and healthier lives. We may be able to help even if you have been told there are no further treatment options by another provider. If allergy symptoms and skin infections/inflammation are left untreated, your pet can experience itching and crusting, skin infections, hair loss, and pain. Call us to learn more about how we can help!
 

Treatment Plans for Dog and Cat Allergies:

To best create a plan tailored for your pet, we obtain a through medical history for your pet (through questions and prior veterinary records), complete a thorough physical exam, and recommend the appropriate pet allergy testing to arrive at a diagnosis and treatment plan. Some treatment options might include:

Oral Medications:
  • Apoquel (Oclacitinib): this medication goes right to the source of the itch, to stop the underlying cause of the allergic itch (your pet must be 12 months or older).
  • Steroids (Prednisone): this medication can give immediate relief to your pet. There are side effects to this medication (increased drinking, urinating, and appetite).
  • Antibiotics are used to treat secondary bacterial skin infections, common in pets with allergies and which often lead to increased itch and discomfort.
  • Antifungals (Ketoconazole) are used to treat yeast infections on the skin, also common in pet allergies and which make itchiness worse.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements are often prescribed.
Injections
  • Cytopoint is an innovative new therapy that targets itch at its source. It starts working within 1 day and can keep itch controlled for 4 to 8 weeks. It also helps damaged skin begin to heal within 7 days.
  • Steroids and Antihistamines can help to immediately decrease itching and inflammation in your pet and can be used during acute allergic reactions.
Topical Medications/Treatments
  • Medicated shampoos, mousses and sprays are often prescribed to treat bacterial and yeast infections on the body.

If we suspect a food allergy, a diet trial with a prescription hypoallergenic food (for example Hill’s Prescription z/d or d/d) for at least 8 to 12 weeks.

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Dr. Jennifer Arneson has over 20 years of experience managing pet allergies in pets. Her broad knowledge of the field has helped many pets lead happier and healthier lives. Dr. Arneson may be able to help even if you have been told there are no further treatment options by another provider.