Is Your Dog’s Constant Itching Caused by Allergies? Ask the Vet at the Dog Clinic in Olathe, KS

One of the most common reasons causing a worried pet owner to bring their dog to the Dog Clinic in Olathe KS is constant itching, scratching and biting, possibly accompanied by an ear or skin infection. The root cause of these problems could well be allergies.

Allergies are no easier to treat in dogs than in people. There are a large number of potential allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, food or even another pet. There’s no practical way to prevent exposure to many of the allergens that could be making the dog’s life miserable.

Allergies Progressively Worsen

Excess histamine is produced by the dog’s body when exposed to the allergen, reacting more strongly with each additional exposure. The dog tries to alleviate the discomfort by scratching, chewing and biting, usually around the face, ears and paws. Any dog can develop a chronic allergy although some breeds, such as retrievers, terriers and shepherds, are more susceptible.

Dogs suffer from four types of allergies:

• Fleas

• Environmental (atopy) such as dust mites and pollen

• Food

• Contact

Allergy Treatments

• Antihistamines only work on about 30% of dogs and may become ineffective after a while. Consult your vet about about the best antihistamine treatment for your dog. For some dogs, antihistamines may be the only treatment needed.

• Corticosteroids are much stronger than antihistamines, but a very small dose could be enough to bring relief. They are not recommended for long-term use, but can certainly improve the quality of life for the dog.

• Allergy testing and allergy shots (immunotherapy) are the only way to effectively manage the gradual worsening of environmental allergies. The treatment process is similar to what is done for humans. The dog will be tested for a number of allergens and this information is used to formulate the allergy shot. It takes up to nine months to begin seeing positive results, but there is an 80% success rate.

• Food allergies are treated by putting the dog on a special diet for three months and then adding one food at a time. It’s very important that the dog eat nothing except the special food until the particular problem food is identified.

If constant scratching and itching is a problem, bring your dog to the Falcon Valley Animal Hospital Dog Clinic in Olathe KS. Diagnosis and treatment can dramatically improve your dog’s quality of life. Click here to contact the vet.

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