Has your pet got an itch?
You see them scratching. And the more they scratch… well… the more they scratch. In the end, they aren’t so different from us. When they scratch, it feels good… but only for a moment. So, they scratch some more. And then some more. You get the picture. And underneath their fur, their skin gets irritated. There might even be some swelling. But you might not see these symptoms. What’s bothering them so much?
According to Dr. Annie Cantin, a veterinarian at the Du Nord Veterinary Hospital, allergies are frequent in dogs and cats. And the most common symptom? You guessed it: itching. And this can cause secondary infections of the skin and ears, for example. Therefore, quickly consulting your vet as soon as your pet starts scratching frequently or continuously is highly recommended.
So what might they be allergic to? “There are so many allergens out there, explains Dr. Cantin, just like with humans. An allergy to pollen, which is seasonal, is quite common. If that is the case, we can reduce exposure but it can’t be avoided entirely. However, a food allergy is easier to control, but you must find out the allergen in question.”
Dr. Cantin adds that animals are rarely allergic to one thing, which makes controlling the allergy even more complicated. If the allergy is food related, you should have your vet perform a few tests. In order to detect the allergen, they will choose a protein that your pet has never eaten, continuing in this manner in a process of elimination. Obviously, it is crucial, during this test period, not to change your pet’s diet without first discussing it with your vet.
Living with a dog, cat or ferret with allergies means facing this reality. Your vet can suggest an approach to control the symptoms. But please note that antihistamine absorption, which is relatively easy in humans, is not very efficient in animals. So that avenue should not be considered!