Our Tampa veterinary clinic is already beginning to see allergic cases coming in this year. Living in Florida, allergies can be a year round ordeal but generally they do get worse in the spring and fall when your pet is suffering from atopy (grass and pollen allergies). It seems that this year things are coming sooner than usual and a little more severe. Is there something new blooming or are we just in an exaggerated season since we didn’t have much of a winter?
Allergies in your pet’s can be mild to severe. Some of our affected patients will scratch occasionally while others will literally tear themselves to pieces. The 3 main sources of allergic disease in dogs and cats are 1)Atopy (grass and pollen allergies) 2)parasites (primarily fleas) and 3) food sensitivities. Many times a tentative diagnosis can be achieved with physical exam but often additional testing is required to find out exactly what your pet is reacting to. Our animal hospital in Tampa can do many of the needed allergy testing to reach a diagnosis. If required, we have good relationships with veterinary dermatologists so a referral can always be set up. Fortunately, we are able to get many of our patients controlled without this.
Upon initial exam, our veterinarians and staff will take a detailed history about your pet’s allergies. (Severity, when they started, any new foods recently, have you tried any medications, etc.) This information is essential when trying to narrow down the culprits for the allergic attack. Once this is done, the physical exam will help further narrow down potential causes. Distribution of itching and the types of lesions found on the skin are both great clues. Often, there is a secondary skin infection which will also need to be controlled.
Treatment options include everything from topicals to immunosuppresants. To reiterate, there is often a secondary skin infection by the time we get to see our patients and this will have to be controlled before proper control of the allergies are achieved. After that, we can use many medications to help relieve the itching while we are trying to fully diagnose the allergy. Avoidance of the offending allergen is the ideal way to resolve the situation but many times is not possible therefore most allergic patients are on some kind of antihistamine or steroid. We also can do allergy testing and if something specific is identified, an allergy “vaccine” can be created to help desensitize your pet to the allergen.
Our animal clinic in Tampa sees many cases of allergic skin disease throughout the year and can help you get your pet some relief. We all know how bad allergies can get and don’t want our pets to suffer through allergy season. If you have any questions about this topic give us a call at 813-289-3925 or email us at [email protected]