As we come into Spring, and the weather gets warmer and the plants start to bloom, many pets experience itching (pruritus). The constant licking, chewing, and scratching can be irritating for owners but can also cause skin wounds and infections in our pets. Allergies are a common cause of itchy pets and include environmental allergies(atopic dermatitis), flea allergies, food allergy.
Environmental allergies occur when pets develop skin irritation secondary to common substances like pollen, trees, or house dust mites. There are many options for treatments of these types of allergies including antihistamines, like benadryl, and short term steroids. There are also new anti-itch medications likes Apoquel (a pill) and Cytopoint (an injection). We carry both at Brentwood Vet Clinic.
In pets with flea allergies, a single flea bite can cause a severe reaction, even if owners don’t see any fleas on their pet. Flea medications and cleaning the environment are the most important factors in treating these patients. Brentwood Veterinary Clinic carries several flea medications for cats and dogs.
Food allergies are uncommon in pets, but can happen when pets develop a hypersensitivity to certain foods (in most cases a specific protein source). A food trial, which lasts 6-8 weeks is the the only way to diagnose a food allergy. In this food trial, pets are fed a novel or hydrolyzed protein diet strictly to see if there is any improvement of the itching.
If you have an itchy cat or dog, please call Brentwood Veterinary Clinic at 615-373-4777 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.