Allergic Skin Disease

“Dr. Rannals, Fido just won’t stop this awful scratching! He’s even keeping us awake at night chewing and scratching all over. Can anything be done to help?”

You would not believe how often we hear that complaint. There are several diseases that can cause scratching in dogs and cats (sarcoptic mange, ringworm fungus, and fleas to name a few). But the single most common reason Fido or Felix sits and constantly scratches is because of ALLERGIES. Allergic dermatitis is an abnormal immune reaction by the pet to common substances that are found in the environment. Inflammation of the skin, hair loss, and scratching are the trademarks that tell us that your pet is over-reacting to some pollen, grass, or other protein found around the yard or house. There are different classes of allergic skin problems with different patterns of scratching. THERE IS NO CURE FOR ALLERGIES, BUT THE PROBLEM CAN BE RELIEVED AND CONTROLLED!

The most common method of treatment for allergic dermatitis involves the use of synthetic cortisone-like medicines that block this immune reaction and thereby stop the scratching. These are often combined with other meds to create greater control. At the Rannals Small Animal Clinic, we have selected specific combinations of treatment regimens for their effectiveness and safety. Injections are often followed by daily tablets given at home for a better level of medicine for the particular pet. ALTHOUGH SOME PETS “OUTGROW” THE ALLERGY, MOST REQUIRE SOME TREATMENT FOR LIFE. Often there is a seasonal pattern, with the scratching being worse in the warmer months and almost non-existent in the winter.

During times of treatment there may be two “side effects” with which to deal: increased thirst and increased appetite. Usually the dose of the medicine can be found that provides real relief, yet leaves few side effects. By working closely together, we can normally find that happy medium for your pet. But the main thing is YOUR PET DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MISERABLE! THE SCRATCHING OF SKIN ALLERGIES CAN BE CONTROLLED.

One final note. FLEAS are often found on allergic dogs and can really aggravate skin that is already inflamed. In fact, pets can be just as allergic to the bite of the flea as to anything else. Therefore, controlling these pests is of great importance in the treatment of skin allergies. There are outstanding new products, that we can show you to control fleas more effectively than ever before, such as Trifexis heartworm/flea control and Bravecto (a three month flea chewable tablet).

Call Dr. Rannals at 903-839-7235 for an appointment.