Dog allergies are extremely common, especially in East Texas. They can be allergic to the same type things as humans. But rather than showing the common respiratory symptoms that people have, like sneezing, sinus problems and eyes watering, dogs show allergy symptoms in their skin. They itch and scratch and chew. Hair may come out leaving bald or thin spots, and often they get secondary infections with bacteria or yeast. Fortunately, there are new treatments coming along to help us manage these pets.
In treating allergies in dogs, it would be great if we could just remove them from the things they are allergic to. But it’s hard to remove them from grass and tree pollens, common fungi that live in the ground and other things so common to their environment. Dogs can even be allergic to flea bites.
Some dogs that have skin allergies have symptoms that are pretty mild and require no treatment. But many have a very hard time being comfortable. They itch constantly, may lick and chew their feet until they’re red or infected. And many times they have a hard time getting to sleep at night (and causing the owners to also not get any rest). For these dogs, we have traditionally used a multi modal approach to treatment. Certain medicated shampoos, fatty acid supplements, antibiotics or anti-fungals are often used to treat them. But the most common and most effective treatment for these pets have been the judicious use of corticosteroids. Cortisone type medications interfere with the allergic response and give these pets rest. But care has to be taken how much and how often these drugs are used.
There are some newer allergy medications that have come along recently that are showing promise. One is a daily pill called Apoquel. It is effective in many dogs in relieving the itch associated with allergies and making the pet comfortable and it is not a steroid, therefore no steroid side effects. An even newer treatment is an injection called Cytopoint. It is given every one to two months in the clinic and early returns seem to be very effective. So far at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital, the cases we’ve treated have gotten same day relief from the itch. Dogs that have had severe skin allergies for years that we have treated with conventional medications are responding to Cytopoint. We’re excited about it at the clinic.
In veterinary medicine, we cannot yet cure allergies in dogs and cats. But we are making strides in giving relief to them. Call us at 903-839-7235 to set up an appointment.