Does Your Pet Have Allergies Or An Illness?
6 Tips To Tell The Difference
by Anita Ginsburg
Pet allergies are very common. Dogs and cats can develop allergies to foods, pollen, or items around the home such as plastics or dust mites. The symptoms can often be confusing, and it is often difficult to tell if your furry family member is sick or experiencing an allergic response.
1. Itchy Skin
In dogs both and cats, itchy skin, especially on the paws, trunk, legs, face, and around the anus can signal food allergies. Dogs may have chronic ear yeast infections that resist treatment. In cats, food allergens can sometimes cause wheezing or heavy breathing. Most food allergies can be addressed with a change to a special limited ingredient diet. Other culprits can be something as simple as dry skin. Talk to your vet about treatment options to treat itchiness that is caused by allergies.
If your dog has swelling of the face or snout, or is causing him/herself to bleed with scratching or chewing, you should see your vet immediately. Also, if a pet does not respond to a special diet after a month, they should be investigated for another cause such as thyroid disease. If your cat seems to be in distress or is drooling while wheezing, consider this to be a medical emergency. These symptoms are often more than just allergies and should be treated appropriately.
3. Food Sensitivity
Dogs and cats with frequent, loose bowel movements and occasional vomiting may have a type of food sensitivity. In many cases, it is an allergy to, or inability to digest, grains such as corn, wheat, or soy. A quality grain-free diet may permanently cure this allergy.
4. Loss of Appetite
If your pet stops eating, has abdominal discomfort, or has bloody or fatty stools, they should see a vet right away to rule out acute pancreatitis or other serious issue. Cats with the above symptoms that start vocalizing and/or straining on the litter pan may have a bladder blockage. Get him or her to the vet immediately if you notice these serious symptoms.
5. Rashes/Chronic Wheezing
If your pet has rashes, acne, chronic wheezing, hot spots, scabs, and rubs her face on the carpet, this can indicate an allergy. This is caused by inhaled allergens in the home. A plastic food dish might be the culprit, so switching to a metal one may be all that is needed.
6. Other Skin Problems
Skin with discoloration, yellowish discharge, or swelling may indicate a medical problem which needs to be addressed promptly. It could mean that your pet has a wound that has become infected, or that there are additional underlying health problems, both of which should be evaluated by a professional.
Any time your pet is having a new set of symptoms, you should always consult your veterinarian to rule out a problem that could require prompt treatment, say the experts at the Animal Care Center of Forest Park. However, these are a few tips you can use to try to determine if your pet has allergies or an illness.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver. firstname.lastname@example.org
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