Starting from Scratch with Allergies
The signs are all too common: paws wet and discolored from chewing and licking, the flapping and scratching of itchy ears, or the dreaded butt-scoot on your nice rug. May is Allergy Awareness Month, important because up to 10% of dogs suffer from environmental allergies. When these allergens inflame the skin and ears—as they often do with dogs—it is known as atopic dermatitis, and it can make your pet miserable.
Allergies can happen throughout the year, but many dogs suffer during spring and fall. Sensitivities are often to pollen, but molds and dust mites are also common offenders. In addition to the discomfort, the constant licking and scratching often result in secondary bacterial or fungal infections that require antimicrobial therapy.
Mild allergies can often be managed with over-the-counter antihistamines, bathing and daily removal of pollens from the coat with a moist towel. However, moderate to severe allergies require more powerful medication. Fortunately, there are new therapies that offer relief to our allergy patients with a significant improvement in safety and efficacy. They include:
Hyposensitization therapy (allergy shots): This remains the gold standard for long-term management of allergies, even though cost is significant and only 50-75% of patients respond.
Corticosteroids, Cyclosporine, and related medications: These drugs suppress the immune system and reliably help with allergies.
Apoquel: This new oral medication suppresses a very narrow branch of the immune system (a single signaling molecule.) By blocking its release this medication will prevent itching in most allergic dogs.
Cytopoint: This is one of the newer tools for the relief of allergies. Cytopoint is an injectable canine antibody preparation that will prevent itching for 4 to 8 weeks with each injection in most dogs.
The first step is to find out what substance is causing your pet an allergic reaction. Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic offers pain-free allergy testing options that can solve the mystery of your pet’s discomfort. The testing is comprehensive and will result in a detailed, customized plan for your pet.
Take advantage of our May special and get 20% off all allergy testing and treatments at Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic through the end of the month. If your pet shows any of these symptoms and you suspect allergies are to blame, schedule an appointment by calling (713) 659-0650.