START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Group Discussions
Skin Disease, Hair Loss and Scratching in Dogs and Cats
4 years ago
Many possible causes and treatments for these common problems

By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Guide

Itching, scratching, fleas, allergies and hair loss are among the most common questions to veterinarians. Hair loss and scratching are very common signs that represent a multitude of possible health or parasite problems. Often the scratching, chewing and licking lead to secondary problems.

Your veterinarian will need to do an examination and likely some testing to determine the root cause and begin treatment. Here are some resources about these common skin problems in dogs and cats.

     Please stay tuned for the next installment.....

4 years ago
Common Causes of Hair Loss and Scratching in Dogs and Cats

Most Common Causes of Skin Disease in Dogs and Cats

By Lorie Huston, DVM, Contributing Writer

Hair loss and scratching are common symptoms in dogs and cats. There are many diseases that can cause these symptoms and many of them will appear similar to one another. These are some of the most common causes.
4 years ago

Allergies Can Cause Hair Loss and Scratching in Dogs and Cats

Allergies are the most common cause of hair loss and scratching in dogs and cats. The three most common canine and feline allergies are:

  • allergies to fleas
  • atopy (an allergy to substances in the environment, such as grasses, plant pollens and dust mites)
  • food allergy

Parasites and Fungal Infections that Cause Hair Loss and Scratching in Pets

There are several different parasitic diseases that can cause hair loss and scratching for your dog or cat.

4 years ago
  • Demodectic mange is caused by a mite, a small insect. It is most commonly seen in dogs but can be seen in cats also. Some dogs (and cats) seem to be more likely to show symptoms of demodectic mange than others and some pets may be genetically predisposed to infection.

  • Sarcoptic mange is also caused by a mite but it is a different mite than the one that causes demodectic mange. Sarcoptic mange can affect people as well as pets.

  • Otodectic mange is caused by ear mites. Though most commonly found in the ear canals, ear mites can also live on the hair and skin outside of the ear canals. They can be responsible for causing hair loss and scratching, particularly in and around the ears. Ear mites are contagious to both dogs and cats, but generally do not bother people.

  • Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection. It is contagious to pets and people both.
4 years ago

Skin Infections and Their Role in Hair Loss and Itchiness in Dogs and Cats


Both canine and feline skin can become infected with various types of bacteria and yeast. The most common yeast infection seen is caused by Malassezia. Both yeast and bacterial infections can make a dog or cat extremely itchy, causing scratching and hair loss.

Skin infections in dogs and cats rarely occur on their own, without an underlying factor. Usually, there is another skin disease or skin problem which causes changes in your pet's skin allowing the bacterial or yeast infection to occur. It is important to locate and treat the underlying cause in addition to the skin infection. Otherwise, the skin infection is likely to recur.

4 years ago

Canine and Feline Skin Diseases Caused by Autoimmune Disorders


There are several autoimmune disorders that can cause skin disease in dogs and cats. They are reasonably rare but the most commonly seen are:

  • pemphigus

  • discoid lupus erythematosis (DLE)

  • bullous pemphigoid

  • systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE)
4 years ago

In an autoimmune disease, essentially the body's immune system mistakenly recognizes a part of the body as a foreign object and mounts an immune attack against that part of the body.


Endocrine Diseases that Cause Skin Problems in Dogs and Cats


Endocrine diseases can sometimes cause hair loss, particularly in dogs. However, normally skin problems resulting from endocrine disorders are not itchy and do not cause scratching, unless the skin has become infected with bacteria or yeast.

4 years ago

The two most common endocrine causes of hair loss in dogs are hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism.

  • Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not secrete sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.
  • Hyperadrenocorticism is also called Cushing's disease. It is a disorder of the adrenal gland in which adrenal hormones are secreted in abnormally high levels.

These are some of the most commonly encountered causes of hair loss in dogs or cats. Other causes include nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. Disorders of keratin production and seborrhea are also possible.

Photo Courtesy of Hunter-Desportes/Flickr.com

4 years ago
Most Common Causes of Allergies in Dogs and Cats
Common Causes of Allergies


Fleas, foods and atopy are the most common causes of allergies in dogs and cats.

Hunter-Desportes/Flickr.com

Allergies occur when your pet is abnormally sensitive to something to which he is exposed. Pets can be allergic to many different things. There are three common types of allergies seen in dogs and cats.

Flea Allergies in Dogs and Cats

flea allergies are the most common type of allergy. A flea allergy occurs when a dog or cat becomes infested with fleas and the fleas begin to feed on your pet. As the flea feeds, it's saliva secretes a substance to which some animals develop an abnormal sensitivity. An allergy to the flea is the result.




4 years ago
  • For dogs and cats that are allergic to fleas, one flea bite can be enough to cause a reaction.

  • Many dogs and cats that are allergic to fleas groom themselves excessively and some dogs and cats are quite good at removing the fleas. It can sometimes be difficult to find evidence of fleas on your dog or cat even if your pet is suffering from the symptoms of a flea allergy.

  • The symptoms of flea allergies can be prevented by preventing your dog or cat from becoming infested with fleas.

Canine and Feline Allergies Caused by Atopy

Atopy is sometimes called an inhalant allergy. It is an allergic reaction to something in the pet's environment.

4 years ago

Atopy can be caused by grasses, pollens, dust mites and many other substances. Finding the substance that is causing the allergy can be difficult. In some cases, systematically removing potential allergens (substances that may be causing the allergy) from the environment may help identify the cause. However, in most cases, skin or blood testing will be necessary to identify the offending item.

Your dog or cat may be allergic to more than one allergen also and these allergies can be cumulative. The symptoms of the allergy may become worse when a second allergen becomes present in your pet's environment.

In some dogs, atopy may be inherited from the mother and/or father.

4 years ago

Food as a Source of Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Foods are another potential source of allergies for your dog or cat. Food allergies are often caused by proteins in the food that act as allergens, causing an allergy for your pet. Carbohydrate sources can also act as allergens. Less commonly, other items in the food, such as preservatives or other ingredients, may be the cause of the allergy.

Physically, all of these allergies will appear identical to the others. Dogs and cats can also suffer from more than one type of allergy. It is not impossible for your dog or cat to be allergic to fleas and suffer from atopy or a food allergy at the same time.

Photo Courtesy of Hunter-Desportes/Flickr.com

4 years ago
3. Dermatitis Caused by Bacterial and Yeast Infections


Gail S/Flickr.com

Dermatitis is general term that refers to inflammation in the skin. In dogs and cats, dermatitis may be caused by yeast or bacterial infections in the skin.

When your dog or cat's skin becomes damaged, the environment on the surface of the skin changes. This change gives the normal yeast and bacteria living on the surface of the skin the opportunity to avoid the skin's normal defense systems and cause further damage to the skin.

4 years ago
Diagnosing and Treating Bacterial and Yeast Infections in Dogs and Cats

By Lorie Huston, DVM, Contributing Writer

Dermatitis is general term that refers to inflammation in the skin. In dogs and cats, dermatitis may be caused by yeast or bacterial infections in the skin.

How Yeast and Bacterial Dermatitis Happens in Dogs and Cats

Skin infections caused by yeast and bacteria rarely happen alone. Under normal circumstances, both canine and feline skin provides a defensive barrier that bacteria and yeast are unable to breach. However, when your dog or cat's skin becomes damaged, the environment on the surface of the skin changes. This change gives the normal yeast and bacteria living on the surface of the skin the opportunity to avoid the skin's normal defense systems and cause further damage to the skin.

4 years ago

If your dog or cat has been scratching excessively or has been losing his hair, it is possible that his skin has become infected by either bacteria or yeast. Various skin diseases can cause changes in the skin that can allow yeast and bacteria to invade and infect the skin. Potential underlying causes include:

  • allergic skin disease, such as flea allergy, food allergy or atopy
  • infectious skin disease, such as Demodectic mange
  • metabolic skin disease, such as that caused by hypothyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism in dogs

Any disease process that damages or removes the skin's natural defensive measures can be a predisposing cause of a yeast and/or bacterial skin infection.

4 years ago

The skin may be infected by numerous types of bacteria, including Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E. Coli, Proteus, Pseudomonas and many others. The most common yeast infection seen in the skin is caused by Malassezia.

Symptoms of Secondary Bacterial or Yeast Infections in Dogs and Cats

Both yeast and bacterial skin infections will make your dog or cat extremely itchy. The symptoms seen will vary, depending on the underlying cause of the skin infection. However, reddened skin, hair loss, scabs and open sores are all possibilities with both yeast and bacterial skin infections.

4 years ago

Diagnosing Canine and Feline Bacterial and Yeast Dermatitis

The test most commonly used to diagnose bacterial and yeast dermatitis is skin cytology. Skin cytology involves collecting cells from the surface of the skin, dying them with special stains and examining the cells under a microscope.

  • Both yeast and bacteria will be visible in the skin cytology samples.
  • Malassezia yeast organisms are readily identified using skin cytology.
  • Bacterial organisms can be classified into basic groups based on their shape and which stains they can be dyed with.
4 years ago

In some circumstances, a bacterial culture and sensitivity may need to be done to precisely identify the type or types of bacteria and determine which antibiotic will be effective in killing or controlling the bacteria. However, in most cases, an antibiotic selection can be made based on knowing which bacterial groups are present as determined on the skin cytology.

Treatment of Bacterial and Yeast Skin Infections in the Dog and Cat

Treatment of canine and feline skin infections caused by yeast require treatment with an anti-fungal medication. Commonly used medications include ketoconazole, itraconazole, griseofulvicin and other anti-fungal medications.

4 years ago

Treatment of bacterial skin infections relies on antibiotics. The initial antibiotic chosen is often based on the results of the skin cytology. Commonly chosen antibiotics include cephalexin, amoxicillin/clavulinic acid, trimethoprim/sulfa and others. If the infection is not responsive to the initially chosen antibiotic, a bacterial culture and sensitivity may identify a more effective antibiotic choice.

One of the most important things to remember in treating secondary bacterial and yeast skin infections in dogs and cats is that there is almost always an underlying disease that caused the skin to be susceptible to infection. This underlying cause must be identified and treated if treatment of the skin infection is to be successful. If the underlying cause of the infection is not treated, the skin infection is likely to return.

Photo Courtesy of Gail S/Flickr.com

4 years ago
4. Common Signs of Allergies

Chika/Flickr

Allergies are a common problem in dogs and cats. They are among the most common diseases in pets and can cause a number of different types of signs.

By far, the most common signs seen in both dogs and cats with allergies are related to the skin. Learn more here.

4 years ago

Allergies are a common problem in dogs and cats. They are among the most common diseases in pets and can cause a number of different types of signs.


Allergies and Skin Disease in Dogs and Cats


By far, the most common signs seen in both dogs and cats with allergies are related to the skin. Unlike in humans where allergies are more likely to cause respiratory signs, canine and feline allergies are more likely to cause inflammation within the skin, known as allergic dermatitis.

4 years ago

Dogs and cats with allergies are likely to become itchy and will begin to scratch excessively. They may bite or chew at their skin in various areas of their body. They may rub against vertical objects or lie down and try to rub themselves on the ground. As the itchiness becomes worse, the skin may begin to become reddened and sore.

The most common signs seen with skin allergies include:

4 years ago
  • hair loss
  • reddened, inflamed skin
  • scabs
  • open sores on the skin

These signs are inflicted by the allergic pet as it attempts to relieve the itchiness by scratching and rubbing.

"Hot spots" are localized areas of inflammation on the skin accompanied by very red skin which may be bleeding and often with hair loss. "Hot spots" are sometimes called "moist dermatitis" and are often the result of allergic dermatitis.

4 years ago

Ear Problems in Allergies of Dogs and Cats


Allergies in dogs and cats frequently involve the ears as well. This is particularly true in dogs. When affected by allergies, the ear canals may simply be inflamed or they become infected with yeast and/or bacteria.

Signs commonly observed with ear problems in dogs and cats with allergies include:

3 years ago
  • scratching at the ears
  • shaking the head
  • an odor from the ears, if infection is present
  • a discharge from the ears, if infection is present
  • hair loss surrounding the ears

Respiratory Signs Associated with Canine and Feline Allergies


Less commonly, canine and feline allergies may cause respiratory signs. These signs may mimic upper respiratory infections in cats and dogs and include:

3 years ago
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • runny eyes
  • runny nose

Gastrointestinal Problems Associated with Allergies in Dogs and Cats


Dogs and cats can develop food allergies, which may occasionally also cause some gastrointestinal (GI) upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

3 years ago
Though respiratory and GI signs may occasionally be seen in dogs and cats with allergies, the skin and ears are much more commonly affected.

5. Diagnosing Hair Loss and Scratching




chatblanc1/Flickr.com

Hair loss and/or scratching are the most common manifestations of both canine and feline skin disease.

Many different diseases can cause skin disease but the skin of the dog or cat can only react to disease in a limited number of ways. As a result, many of the diseases that cause skin problems in dogs and cats also cause similar symptoms and look identical to one another.

In order to be able to successfully diagnose and treat your dog or cat for scratching and hair loss, your veterinarian will likely need to perform some basic laboratory testing.


3 years ago

Start the Search for the Cause of Hair Loss and/or Scratching in a Dog or Cat


Your veterinarian will begin the search for the cause of your dog or cat's hair loss by asking you some basic questions. These questions will allow your veterinarian to begin to develop a medical history for your pet. These are some of the questions you should be prepared to answer.

3 years ago
  • When did your dog or cat start to lose hair?
  • Is your dog or cat itchy?
  • Has your dog or cat suffered from similar problems in the past? If so, when?
  • Is your dog or cat currently taking any medications? Herbal supplements?
  • What is your dog or cat eating?
  • Have you noticed symptoms other than scratching or hair loss?
  • Are there other pets in your home and, if so, are they experiencing similar problems?
  • Are family members noticing any abnormal skin lesions?
3 years ago

The next thing your veterinarian will do is perform a thorough physical examination. Your pet will be examined from head to toe, looking for evidence of parasites (such as fleas, ticks and lice), skin lesions (such as red spots, scabs, sores) and overall health. The examination will include the eyes, ears, teeth and other body parts as well. This is because skin disease can sometimes be a manifestation of disease in another part of the body.

The results from the history and physical examination will lead your veterinarian in determining which diseases are most likely causing the hair loss and itching for your dog and cat. The results will also help in determining which diagnostic tests should be performed.

3 years ago

Specific Tests for Skin Disease in the Dog and Cat


If your dog or cat is suffering from skin disease and has been losing hair or scratching, there are several tests your veterinarian may recommend performing. These include:

  • skin scrapings to look for evidence of the mites that cause mange
  • skin cytology looking for evidence of yeast and bacterial infections in the skin
  • fungal cultures that check for ringworm and other fungal infections
  • skin biopsies if skin cancer or other serious skin disease is suspected
3 years ago

In some cases, if your veterinarian suspects that a more systemic disease is causing your dog or cat's skin disease, a blood screen may be recommended.

  • A blood screen usually consists of a complete blood count (CBC) and a chemistry profile.
  • The complete blood count looks closely at the red blood cells and white blood cells.
  • The blood chemistry profile allows evaluation of kidney function, liver enzymes, protein levels, and electrolyte levels.
  • In dogs with skin disease, blood screening may also include tests that evaluate the thyroid function, including total t4, free t4 and/or thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
3 years ago

Diagnosing Canine and Feline Skin Disease with Flea Control


If your dog or cat is scratching and losing hair, one of the first things your veterinarian will likely recommend is a reliable form of flea control if you are not already using flea control. This is because fleas can be notoriously difficult to find on dogs and cats, even if fleas are the cause of the allergy. And if fleas are not the cause of the initial skin irritation, controlling fleas is still important because fleas are likely to make the original skin problem much worse.

3 years ago

Diagnosing Skin Disease in the Dog or Cat Caused by Food Allergy


If fleas have been treated and ruled out as the cause of the itching, your veterinarian may recommend doing a food trial. A food trial involves feeding your dog or cat a diet containing a protein and a carbohydrate source that he has never eaten before.

3 years ago

Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy (Hyposensitization)


If other causes of hair loss and scratching have been ruled out and your veterinarian is relatively certain that your dog or cat is suffering from atopy (an allergy to something in your pet's environment), allergy testing may be recommended.

Allergy testing can determine which substances your dog or cat is allergic to and allow immunotherapy, also called hyposensitization. Basically, this involves injecting a solution of the allergen (the substance causing the allergy) on a regular basis into your pet in an attempt to train your pet's body not to respond abnormally to the allergen.

3 years ago
Canine and Feline Flea Allergy TreatmentTreating Dogs and Cats with Allergies to Fleas

From Lorie Huston, DVM, former Contributing Writer

thehillsarealive/Flickr.com

The most important part of treatment for allergies related to fleas is killing the fleas already on your pet and preventing others from infesting your dog or cat.

In some cases of flea allergy, your dog or cat may be so uncomfortable that additional symptomatic treatments are necessary to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with the allergy.

3 years ago

Flea Control - A Necessary Part of Treatment for Flea Allergies in Dogs and Cats


Successful treatment of any flea allergy requires getting rid of the fleas that are currently feeding on your dog or cat and keeping additional fleas away from your pet. However, there are several factors to consider in planning a flea control program.

3 years ago
  • There are many different products available that are safe and effective in controlling fleas. These include Frontline Plus®, Advantage®, Revolution® and many others. Follow label directions carefully when using these products.
  • While these flea control products work to kill the fleas inhabiting your dog or cat, they do not kill the larval forms of the fleas that are present in your home. For this reason, it can take several months before a flea infestation is finally completely under control when only these products are used.
  • Flea eggs and larva can live in your home and can survive for long periods of time. Regular vacuuming of all surfaces can help remove these eggs and larvae from your home. Be sure to move the contents of the vacuum bag outside of your home after you have vacuumed.
  • Wash any bedding that is washable. Hot water is preferable, if possible.
  • Remember that fleas can also inhabit crawl spaces, low hanging vegetation and other sheltered areas outside. You may need to either restrict your pet's access to these areas or treat the areas to kill the flea population there.
  • Products such as Capstar® and Comfortis® are sometimes recommended to treat dogs and cats with severe flea infestations that need relief quickly because they are able to kill fleas more quickly than some of the other flea control products, usually within a matter of hours. (Comfortis® can only be used in dogs.)

     (Look for Herbal Medications, or Homeopathic, because they are much safer!)

3 years ago

Other Considerations in the Treatment of Canine and Feline Flea Allergy



If your dog or cat has been scratching constantly because of a flea allergy, it is possible your pet may also have developed a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. These infections can occur when the skin becomes traumatized or damaged. Secondary infections can contribute to the amount of itchiness your dog or cat is experiencing. If a secondary infection is present, it will need to be treated with an appropriate antibiotic or anti-fungal medication.

In some cases, your dog or cat may become so uncomfortable from the allergy that additional relief is necessary to reduce the itchiness caused by the flea allergy. Your veterinarian may recommend a short course of treatment with anti-inflammatory medications, such as antihistamines or corticosteroids.

3 years ago

In these cases, it is important to weigh the benefits of using the medication against the risk of side effects that can occur due to the medication. When used at all, corticosteroids should be used at the lowest dose possible and only for a short period of time. Many veterinarians do not condone the use of corticosteroids in these situations while others use them cautiously.

Common Myths About Fleas on Dogs and Cats


There are many myths that exist about fleas.

3 years ago
  • Myth #1: "I don't see any fleas on my dog or cat. This cannot be a flea allergy." The truth is that many pets are very good at removing fleas. Not seeing fleas on your dog or cat does not rule out the possibility that fleas are contributing to a skin problem.


  • Myth #2: "It's winter-time and it's freezing outside. My dog or cat cannot have fleas." The truth is that fleas can survive the winter very easily inside of your home. In addition, they can also survive in sheltered areas outside throughout the winter as well. Often, wild animals bring fleas into sheltered areas when seeking shelter from the elements themselves.


  • Myth #3: "There is no reason to continue using flea control if I am not seeing fleas on my dog or cat." The truth is that preventing a flea infestation is much easier than trying to control an infestation that already exists. Using monthly topical products year round is often the most strategic method to control fleas.
3 years ago

If your dog or cat is suffering from a flea allergy, controlling the fleas on your pet and in your home should be your first priority.

Photo Courtesy of thehillsarealive/Flickr.com


Treatment of Dogs and Cats with Food AllergyCanine and Feline Food Allergy Treatment Strategies


From Lorie Huston, DVM, former Contributing Writer

Food allergy is one of the the potential causes of skin disease in dogs and cats. In cases where food allergy is suspected, your veterinarian will want to perform a food trial. The food trial will help diagnose the food allergy. At the same time, it will also treat the allergy, if the trial is effective.

3 years ago

Choosing a Food for a Dog or Cat with a Suspected Food Allergy


A food trial involves feeding your dog or cat a diet containing a protein and a carbohydrate source that he has never eaten before. These are some of the considerations that should be taken into account when you are choosing a food for your pet.

3 years ago
  • Knowing what your pet has eaten in the past will help in deciding what diet is best.


  • The diet for the food trial may be home-cooked or it may be a commercially available food.


  • Protein sources frequently used in a food trial include fish, salmon, duck, kangaroo, and egg.


  • Carbohydrates that may be used include potato, sweet potato, peas, oats and barley.
3 years ago

Performing a Food Trial to Diagnose Canine or Feline Food Allergy


You must continue a feeding trial for at least 6-8 weeks before you can determine for certain whether the diet is working or not. You may see results sooner, but in some cases, it does take 8 weeks for the symptoms to start to improve.

While on a feeding trial, it is important not to feed your pet any other foods, such as treats or flavored medications.

3 years ago

If the feeding trial works, your dog should stop scratching and become much more comfortable.

If your pet improves when on the feeding trial, that may mean that food allergies were the cause of the itchiness. However, coincidence still cannot be ruled out. In order to confirm that your pet is allergic to a specific food, you would need to start feeding the original diet again. If the scratching starts again, that is strong evidence that the food is responsible for the allergy. The problem is that you may not want to make your pet itchy again by reintroducing the original food. Many pet owners choose to continue feeding the trial diet instead.

3 years ago

Continuing Treatment for Food Allergy in Dogs and Cats


Once the food trial is completed and it has been determined that your pet is indeed suffering from a food allergy, you will need to decide whether to continue to feed the trial diet or to change the diet.

Many pet owners decide to simply continue feeding the diet used in the food trial. In most cases, this is a good choice because the diet has already been proven to be effective. However, if you are feeding a home-cooked meal, it is important to work with your veterinarian to make sure that the diet is balanced and complete. If it is not, your dog or cat may suffer from nutritional imbalances and become ill as a result.

3 years ago

if you decide not to continue the food trial diet, it is possible to add ingredients to the diet one at a time, watching for signs of the return of the symptoms of food allergy. By introducing ingredients that may potentially cause allergy one at a time, it may be possible to identify the exact ingredient in food that causes the allergy and avoid it in the future. However, it should be remembered that some dogs and cats may be allergic to more than one ingredient.


Treating Dogs and Cats with Allergies Caused by Atopy


Atopy is a common form of allergy in dogs and cats. Atopy is caused by exposure to allergens (allergy-causing substances) in your pet's environment. Examples of common allergens implicated in atopy include dust mites, mold, grasses and plant pollens. In many cases, the exact allergen causing the allergic reaction may not be known.

3 years ago
http://pfiles.5min.com/images/225393/225392345.jpg

Source of Photograph.....

http://pfiles.5min.com/images/225393/225392345.jpg

Atopy is a frequent cause of allergies in dogs and cats.
3 years ago

Diagnosing atopy requires ruling out the other causes of itching first, such as external parasites like fleas, food allergies, Demodectic mange or sarcopic mange. Once your pet has been diagnosed with atopy, you have several treatment options.


Avoidance of the Allergen in Treating Dogs and Cats with Atopy


Where possible, avoiding the allergen which is causing the allergy is the best form of treatment. However, in most cases, this will not be possible. It may not be practical to remove the offending substance from your dog or cat's environment. Or you may not know what triggers your dog or cat's allergy.

3 years ago

Medications to Reduce Inflammation in Dogs and Cats with Allergies


Several medications can be used to help reduce the inflammation caused by atopy in dogs and cats. Commonly used medications include:

  • antihistimines, such as chlorpheniramine, hydroxyzine, diphenhydramine and others
  • corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone and others
  • cyclosporine
3 years ago

Each of these medications has some risk of side effects for your pet and you need to minimize their usage, if possible.

These medications are used to control the symptoms> of atopy in dogs and cats. They will not cure your pet of atopy.

You can also use various shampoos, creams, ointments and sprays to help keep your pet's skin more comfortable. As with the other medications, these products will help relieve symptoms of atopy but will not cure the disease.

3 years ago

Alternative Therapies for the Treatment of Canine and Feline Allergies


Other alternative therapies that may be helpful in treating atopy in dogs and cats include:

  • acupuncture
  • the addition of fatty acid supplements to the food, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • probiotic supplements
3 years ago

Allergy Testing and "Allergy Shots" in the Treatment of Atopy in Dogs and Cats

Allergy testing and "allergy shots" (also called hyposensitization) are an option for atopic dogs and cats.

  • Allergy testing can be done with either a skin test or a blood test. Many veterinary dermatologists believe that skin testing is the "gold standard" for allergy testing. However, blood testing has been used successfully as well.
  • The testing determines the substances to which your pet is allergic.
  • Once you and your veterinarian know what your pet is allergic to, a series of "allergy shots" are prepared for your pet based on that information. The "allergy shots" train your pet's body not to react abnormally to the allergen (the substance to which your pet is allergic).
3 years ago

  • Your pet will need "allergy shots" every few days for an indefinite length of time.


  • You should only pursue allergy testing for your dog or cat if you intend to treat your pet with hyposensitization therapy (i.e. "allergy shots").

Allergy testing and the subsequent "allergy shots" can cure atopy, unlike other treatment options that simply treat its symptoms. However, this treatment course requires a long-term commitment to complete.

3 years ago

Allergy testing and the subsequent "allergy shots" can cure atopy, unlike other treatment options that simply treat its symptoms. However, this treatment course requires a long-term commitment to complete.

Photo Courtesy of jamarmstrong/Flickr.com

3 years ago
Canine and Feline Flea Allergy TreatmentTreating Dogs and Cats with Allergies to Fleas

From Lorie Huston, DVM, former Contributing Writer


An allergy to fleas is one of the most common skin diseases affecting dogs and cats. The most important part of treatment for flea allergy is killing the fleas already on your pet and preventing others from infesting your dog or cat.

In some cases of flea allergy, your dog or cat may be so uncomfortable that additional symptomatic treatments are necessary to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with the allergy.

3 years ago

Flea Control - A Necessary Part of Treatment for Flea Allergies in Dogs and Cats


Successful treatment of any flea allergy requires getting rid of the fleas that are currently feeding on your dog or cat and keeping additional fleas away from your pet. However, there are several factors to consider in planning a flea control program.

Canine and Feline Flea Allergy Treatment

An allergy to fleas is a frequent cause of skin disease in dogs and cats.

thehillsarealive/Flickr.com
3 years ago
  • There are many different products available that are safe and effective in controlling fleas. These include Frontline Plus®, Advantage®, Revolution® and many others. Follow label directions carefully when using these products.
  • While these flea control products work to kill the fleas inhabiting your dog or cat, they do not kill the larval forms of the fleas that are present in your home. For this reason, it can take several months before a flea infestation is finally completely under control when only these products are used.
  • Flea eggs and larva can live in your home and can survive for long periods of time. Regular vacuuming of all surfaces can help remove these eggs and larvae from your home. Be sure to move the contents of the vacuum bag outside of your home after you have vacuumed.
  • Wash any bedding that is washable. Hot water is preferable, if possible.
  • Remember that fleas can also inhabit crawl spaces, low hanging vegetation and other sheltered areas outside. You may need to either restrict your pet's access to these areas or treat the areas to kill the flea population there.
  • Products such as Capstar® and Comfortis® are sometimes recommended to treat dogs and cats with severe flea infestations that need relief quickly because they are able to kill fleas more quickly than some of the other flea control products, usually within a matter of hours. (Comfortis® can only be used in dogs.)
3 years ago

Other Considerations in the Treatment of Canine and Feline Flea Allergy


If your dog or cat has been scratching constantly because of a flea allergy, it is possible your pet may also have developed a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. These infections can occur when the skin becomes traumatized or damaged. Secondary infections can contribute to the amount of itchiness your dog or cat is experiencing. If a secondary infection is present, it will need to be treated with an appropriate antibiotic or anti-fungal medication.

In some cases, your dog or cat may become so uncomfortable from the allergy that additional relief is necessary to reduce the itchiness caused by the flea allergy. Your veterinarian may recommend a short course of treatment with anti-inflammatory medications, such as antihistamines or corticosteroids.

3 years ago

In these cases, it is important to weigh the benefits of using the medication against the risk of side effects that can occur due to the medication. When used at all, corticosteroids should be used at the lowest dose possible and only for a short period of time. Many veterinarians do not condone the use of corticosteroids in these situations while others use them cautiously.


Common Myths About Fleas on Dogs and Cats


There are many myths that exist about fleas.

  • Myth #1: "I don't see any fleas on my dog or cat. This cannot be a flea allergy." The truth is that many pets are very good at removing fleas. Not seeing fleas on your dog or cat does not rule out the possibility that fleas are contributing to a skin problem.
3 years ago
Myth #2:


"It's winter-time and it's freezing outside. My dog or cat cannot have fleas." The truth is that fleas can survive the winter very easily inside of your home. In addition, they can also survive in sheltered areas outside throughout the winter as well. Often, wild animals bring fleas into sheltered areas when seeking shelter from the elements themselves.
3 years ago

  • Myth #3: "There is no reason to continue using flea control if I am not seeing fleas on my dog or cat." The truth is that preventing a flea infestation is much easier than trying to control an infestation that already exists. Using monthly topical products year round is often the most strategic method to control fleas.

If your dog or cat is suffering from a flea allergy, controlling the fleas on your pet and in your home should be your first priority.

Photo Courtesy of thehillsarealive/Flickr.com

3 years ago
Treatment of Dogs and Cats with Food Allergy
_tar0_/Flickr.com

Food allergy is one of the the potential causes of skin disease in dogs and cats. In cases where food allergy is suspected, your veterinarian will want to perform a food trial. The food trial will help diagnose the food allergy. At the same time, it will also treat the allergy, if the trial is effective.
3 years ago

Choosing a Food for a Dog or Cat with a Suspected Food Allergy


A food trial involves feeding your dog or cat a diet containing a protein and a carbohydrate source that he has never eaten before. These are some of the considerations that should be taken into account when you are choosing a food for your pet.

3 years ago
  • Knowing what your pet has eaten in the past will help in deciding what diet is best.


  • The diet for the food trial may be home-cooked or it may be a commercially available food.


  • Protein sources frequently used in a food trial include fish, salmon, duck, kangaroo, and egg.


  • Carbohydrates that may be used include potato, sweet potato, peas, oats and barley.
3 years ago

You must continue a feeding trial for at least 6-8 weeks before you can determine for certain whether the diet is working or not. You may see results sooner, but in some cases, it does take 8 weeks for the symptoms to start to improve.

While on a feeding trial, it is important not to feed your pet any other foods, such as treats or flavored medications.

3 years ago

If the feeding trial works, your dog should stop scratching and become much more comfortable.

If your pet improves when on the feeding trial, that may mean that food allergies were the cause of the itchiness. However, coincidence still cannot be ruled out. In order to confirm that your pet is allergic to a specific food, you would need to start feeding the original diet again. If the scratching starts again, that is strong evidence that the food is responsible for the allergy. The problem is that you may not want to make your pet itchy again by reintroducing the original food. Many pet owners choose to continue feeding the trial diet instead.

3 years ago

Continuing Treatment for Food Allergy in Dogs and Cats


Once the food trial is completed and it has been determined that your pet is indeed suffering from a food allergy, you will need to decide whether to continue to feed the trial diet or to change the diet.

Many pet owners decide to simply continue feeding the diet used in the food trial. In most cases, this is a good choice because the diet has already been proven to be effective. However, if you are feeding a home-cooked meal, it is important to work with your veterinarian to make sure that the diet is balanced and complete. If it is not, your dog or cat may suffer from nutritional imbalances and become ill as a result.

3 years ago
If you decide not to continue the food trial diet, it is possible to add ingredients to the diet one at a time, watching for signs of the return of the symptoms of food allergy. By introducing ingredients that may potentially cause allergy one at a time, it may be possible to identify the exact ingredient in food that causes the allergy and avoid it in the future. However, it should be remembered that some dogs and cats may be allergic to more than one ingredient.

Photo Courtesy of _tar0_/Flickr.com

3 years ago
Treating Dogs and Cats with Allergies Caused by Atopy


Atopy is a common form of allergy in dogs and cats. Atopy is caused by exposure to allergens (allergy-causing substances) in your pet's environment. Examples of common allergens implicated in atopy include dust mites, mold, grasses and plant pollens. In many cases, the exact allergen causing the allergic reaction may not be known.

3 years ago

Diagnosing atopy requires ruling out the other causes of itching first, such as external parasites like fleas, food allergies, Demodectic mange or sarcopic mange. Once your pet has been diagnosed with atopy, you have several treatment options.


Avoidance of the Allergen in Treating Dogs and Cats with Atopy


Where possible, avoiding the allergen which is causing the allergy is the best form of treatment. However, in most cases, this will not be possible. It may not be practical to remove the offending substance from your dog or cat's environment. Or you may not know what triggers your dog or cat's allergy.

3 years ago

Medications to Reduce Inflammation in Dogs and Cats with Allergies


Several medications can be used to help reduce the inflammation caused by atopy in dogs and cats. Commonly used medications include:

3 years ago
  • antihistimines, such as chlorpheniramine, hydroxyzine, diphenhydramine and others


  • corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone, triamcinolone and others


  • cyclosporine
3 years ago

Each of these medications has some risk of side effects for your pet and you need to minimize their usage, if possible.

These medications are used to control the symptoms> of atopy in dogs and cats. They will not cure your pet of atopy.

3 years ago

You can also use various shampoos, creams, ointments and sprays to help keep your pet's skin more comfortable. As with the other medications, these products will help relieve symptoms of atopy but will not cure the disease.


Alternative Therapies for the Treatment of Canine and Feline Allergies


Other alternative therapies that may be helpful in treating atopy in dogs and cats include:

3 years ago
  • acupuncture


  • the addition of fatty acid supplements to the food, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)


  • probiotic supplements
3 years ago

Allergy Testing and "Allergy Shots" in the Treatment of Atopy in Dogs and Cats


Allergy testing and "allergy shots" (also called hyposensitization) are an option for atopic dogs and cats.

  • Allergy testing can be done with either a skin test or a blood test. Many veterinary dermatologists believe that skin testing is the "gold standard" for allergy testing. However, blood testing has been used successfully as well.
3 years ago

  • The testing determines the substances to which your pet is allergic.


  • Once you and your veterinarian know what your pet is allergic to, a series of "allergy shots" are prepared for your pet based on that information. The "allergy shots" train your pet's body not to react abnormally to the allergen (the substance to which your pet is allergic).
3 years ago
  • Your pet will need "allergy shots" every few days for an indefinite length of time.


  • You should only pursue allergy testing for your dog or cat if you intend to treat your pet with hyposensitization therapy (i.e. "allergy shots").
3 years ago

Allergy testing and the subsequent "allergy shots" can cure atopy, unlike other treatment options that simply treat its symptoms. However, this treatment course requires a long-term commitment to complete.

Photo Courtesy of jamarmstrong/Flickr.com

This thread is archived. To reply to it you must re-activate it.