The short answer is…Allergies But to elaborate a little more, we asked Lakeshore Animal Clinic Veterinarian Dr. Parker a few questions. Below are the results of that Q&A.
Q. Can dogs have outdoor allergies and how are they affected?
A. Yes, I see many canine patients affected with outdoor allergies. Some dogs have only seasonal problems, but I have many patients that struggle all year long here in north Texas. A dog affected with allergies can have sneezing, watery eyes and face rubbing, but they can also become very itchy all over their bodies. Sometimes they lick and chew at their feet or scratch their undersides excessively. Their skin will often become inflamed (red) and oily.
Q. What are the complications of outdoor allergies in dogs?
A. When a dog spends too much time scratching or licking their skin, it damages the skin surface. Under these conditions (inflamed skin and a damaged skin barrier), bacteria and yeast have the ability to thrive and lead to infection. Most of my allergy patients first come to see me when they develop these secondary skin infections.
Q. Once you have determined that a dog has allergies, how do we treat them?
A. Treating allergies is a two step process. I have to diagnose and treat the secondary infections often using both antibiotics and antifungal medication. More importantly, I have to manage/block the primary allergy. If I don’t manage the allergy correctly, the secondary problems always come back. We have several ways to manage allergies from over-the-counter antihistamines to veterinary prescription products. I avoid long term steroid use for my outdoor allergy patients because of the detrimental side effects. We have much safer and more effective products now. If your pet is struggling with allergies please ask your veterinary professional for help.
Andrea Parker DVM, Associate Veterinarian \ Lakeshore Animal Clinic