Just like humans, domestic animals such as dogs and cats can show allergic symptoms when spring brings new allergens into the air. Allergies in dogs and cats can generally be broken down into two main categories: (1) Allergies to things they are inhaling, known as "atopy,” and (2) Allergies to things that they eat, known as “food allergies.” Pets can be allergic to many of the same substances as humans including dust, pollen, prescription medicines, food ingredients, cleaning products, flea medicines, shampoo and cigarette smoke.
The symptoms of allergic reactions in pets are much like those in humans, and can include itchy, runny eyes, ear infections, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea and snoring. However, reactions are most commonly manifested in skin problems, including itchy, red skin that entices your pet to scratch, lick and rub affected areas against carpet and furniture.
How are pet allergies diagnosed?
Sometimes allergy testing is necessary to determine the causes of your pet’s allergies. This is performed by a veterinarian in much the same manner as intradermal skin tests on humans. The owner’s cooperation in monitoring the pet’s diet before the testing is necessary to the success of allergy tests. It is important to only serve your pet a prescribed diet for 12 weeks that is free of potential allergy-causing ingredients. As testing continues, previous foods will be introduced into your pet’s diet to determine the allergens responsible for irritation. Blood testing may also be used to detect antibodies to specific antigens in the blood.
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