Although this past year has seen very little rainfall there are still plenty of allergens in our area to cause allergies for our dogs and cats. Allergy is a state of hypersensitivity in which exposure to a harmless substance known as an allergen induces the body’s immune system to “overreact”. The incidence of allergies is increasing in both humans and their pets. People with allergies usually have “hay fever” (watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing) or asthma. While dogs and cats can rarely also have respiratory allergies, more commonly they experience the effects of allergic hypersensitivities as skin problems. Though there are a variety of presentations, this can often be seen as redness and itching, recurring skin or ear infections, and hair loss. This is sometimes called eczema or atopic dermatitis. Coping with an itchy pet can be an extremely frustrating experience for you, the pet owner, and can truly test the limits of the human-animal bond. Persistent scratching and chewing by the pet can also result in self-excoriation and open wounds. The following information is intended to provide the pet owner with a basic understanding of the most common underlying causes of itching and allergies in small animals.Full Story
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