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What Are Allergies in Pets?

An allergy can develop when your dog or cat’s immune system overreacts to foreign substances in their environment. Their immune system will actively try to remove this foreign substance, which can trigger an allergic reaction. Typically, pets can develop an allergy to food, insects, inhalants, and other allergic substances from your pet’s environment. Note that allergies can happen at any stage in their life. ‍

Common Allergic Symptoms in Pets

If your pet develops an allergy, the symptoms may present as respiratory, digestive, or skin-related issues. Inhalant allergies such as dust, pollen, or mold can make your dog or cat sneeze, wheeze, or cough. The other common symptom is dermatitis, an acute skin condition that leaves your pet’s skin feeling itchy. You may see increased scratching, rubbing, or licking of certain areas. Ear infections and scooting are also signs your pet may have an allergy. ‍

Dermatologic Skin Conditions in Pets

Your pet’s outward skin condition may be caused by a larger, underlying issue. Skin conditions such as ringworm or symptoms like rashes can cause stress and discomfort to your pet. During your pet’s home visit, our veterinary team will provide a thorough examination of your pet’s skin and can recommend any necessary diagnostics and treatments that your pet may need (for an additional cost).

Treating Allergies and Skin Conditions in Pets

Allergy testing and diet trials may be the only way to accurately identify the source of your pet’s allergies. The results can then be used to develop individualized treatment plans to treat the underlying cause of your pet’s allergies. While our veterinarians can prescribe medication and make nutritional recommendations, a referral to a pet dermatologist may also be necessary.

Our Process

During your home visit, your BetterVet doctor will collect a thorough medical history of your dog or cat to get a timeline of your pet’s symptoms. We will ask about things like recent diet changes, relocation, and seasonality of symptoms which can be critical to making an accurate diagnosis. Diagnostics like cytology, skin scraping, cultures, or blood work may be recommended to rule out other causes for your pet’s conditions (for an additional cost). Medications, diet changes, and supplements may be recommended. We may also refer you to a board-certified pet dermatologist if we determine that to be in the best interest of your pet.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth taking your dog to a dermatologist?
If your pet has a chronic skin condition that has not responded to treatment we may recommend that you consult with a board-certified pet allergist or dermatologist. Together, we can make the best plan for your pet.
What is dermatology in veterinary medicine?
While most veterinarians can diagnose and treat common skin issues, chronic conditions that haven't responded to treatment may warrant a referral to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. A veterinary dermatologist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of pet skin conditions, specifically allergic skin diseases.
Should I take my cat to a dermatologist?
If your cat has been suffering from a chronic skin condition that has not responded to treatment we may recommend that you consult with a board-certified pet allergist or dermatologist. Together, we can make a plan to get your cat feeling better soon.
What does a dermatology vet do?
A veterinary dermatologist diagnoses and treats chronic skin conditions in pets, specifically allergic skin diseases.
When should I worry about my dog's skin?
If your dog is itching excessively, biting their paws and skin, or shows signs of irritation, like bumps and redness, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. We can examine your pet from the comfort of their home; simply visit our website or mobile app to book a telemedicine video consultation or home visit.

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