Itching for Change

Are your pets’ paws turning pink? Are they losing patches of hair? Are they keeping you awake at night with their constant licking and chewing?

Some of the most commonly scheduled appointments here at Woodland Veterinary Hospital are for itchy pets – cats or dogs who just cannot stop licking, chewing, and scratching, sometimes to the point of losing fur! There are several different causes of itchiness in pets, but one of the big ones is allergies!

What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?

  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen or red paws
  • Constant licking

It’s important to note that allergies can present at any stage of life – even dogs who may not have displayed allergies before can develop them to things (food, environment, etc) that they may not have been allergic to before. If you suspect your pet may be showing signs of allergies, you should schedule an appointment so one of our WVH doctors can assess them and help get to the bottom of the specific cause. Just requesting “allergy meds” or using over the counter allergy products without first discussing your pet’s symptoms with a vet may lead to masking of symptoms without an overall cure, or may be a waste of your money as you purse a home treatment that doesn’t help your pet in the long run. We want your pet to be comfortable (and for your household to be at peace from all the itching) again as soon as possible, and an exam is the best way to ensure that.

Dr. Dennie and Dr. Johnson noted that in the time leading up to the appointment, one of the most helpful things you can do is to consider the detailed history behind the allergy, as our doctors will certainly want to know as much as possible to help their diagnosis. They’ll want to know how long your pet has been showing symptoms (which will help determine whether the allergy is seasonal or chronic, how often it has happened in the past, the intensity of the itch and where your pets seem to be itchiest, what their diet is (and if it’s changed recently), and whether your pet is on any kind of parasite prevention. All of this information will help our doctors determine whether the allergy is environmental or food-based, or a combination of the two.

Dr. Rode added that an examination in person at WVH also gives our doctors a chance to rule out or treat any secondary infections that may have been caused by the scratching and licking. Sometimes they will take a skin scraping to inspect under the microscope to determine the type of infection and how best to treat it, as allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.

If you think your pet may be showing signs of allergies, give us a call at 530-666-2461. Our client care team will be happy to set you up with an appointment so that our doctors can examine your pet, and our Woodland Vet family can set you and your furry family on the road to a cure.

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