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Pet allergies and dermatology

Get immediate, unlimited advice 24/7. Our veterinary team is ready to respond to common health questions, help you determine what kind of care your pet needs, or assist in an emergency.

Questions? We've got you covered.

What causes allergies in pets?

Just like with humans, pet allergies are an exaggerated immune response to something in their environment or food. Common allergens include pollen, molds, grass, trees, and dust mites. Food allergies are also common, most frequently from a meat protein in chicken or beef.

Allergies typically cause skin problems, digestive issues, chronic ear and anal gland infections, and other issues like feline asthma. Because pets tend to scratch and chew when they’re itchy, allergies can also lead to secondary infections.

If you think your pet may have an allergy, our vets will conduct tests to determine the allergen and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Can my pet’s allergies be cured?

Allergies can’t be cured, but they can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Treatment may include anti-allergy medication like antihistamines or steroids, allergy shots, preventing exposure to allergens, a special diet, and other medications to treat secondary infections.

Can my pet develop allergies later in life?

Yes, pets can develop allergies at any stage in life. If you notice any sudden skin problems, itchiness, or gastrointestinal issues, it may be an allergy and you should discuss it with one of our vets.

How do you treat other dermatological issues?

There are a number of issues other than allergies that can cause skin problems for pets. These may include infections, fleas, ringworm, hair loss (alopecia), hot spots, dry skin, and more. Our vets can diagnose and treat all skin conditions, and recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition from recurring.

Are some breeds more prone to allergies and skin conditions than others?

Yes. French bulldogs, Westhighland White Terriers, Pitbulls, Boston Terriers, German Shepherds, Labradors and Golden Retrievers, amongst others, are more susceptible to allergies and skin conditions.

Can an allergic reaction be fatal?

Yes, but rarely. A very small percentage of pets suffer from severe anaphylactic allergic reactions to things like bee stings or medication. It’s more common for your pet to experience skin inflammation, facial swelling, or hives.