Diagnosing Allergies In Your Pet

Once you’ve acknowledge that your pet may have allergies, the next step is to take your pet to the veterinarian.  The veterinarian will ask you questions to help them determine exactly what is causing the reaction.  Here are a list of questions for you to think about before taking your pet to the vet that will help with the vet’s diagnosis.

1) Do the symptoms get worse at a certain time of year?

If you notice Fido gets particularly itchy after St. Patrick’s Day or that Kitty always breaks out when the leaves fall, he pet may have seasonal allergies.  If you notice Midnight and Snowflake are licking their feet a lot during the holiday season, it could indicate they’re allergic to some of the decorations you put up every year.  Since the seasons (and the number of pine trees at Christmas time) aren’t exactly avoidable, your veterinarian may prescribe some allergy medications to alleviate their symptoms during these times.

2) Do you use a prescription flea prevention?

Many dogs and cats have allergic reactions to fleas’ saliva and one bite is often more than enough to make the miserable.  Flea prevention products sold in pet-stores often times lose efficacy or do not have proper testing while veterinarians carry over the counter (like Vectra and Vectra 3D)  and prescription (like Advantage Multi and Revolution) products which have better results.  You may not think your pet has fleas, but you could be very surprised.

3) Are the symptoms associated with any activity?

Does a trip to the dog park set off your pet’s symptoms?  Or maybe after using the litterbox? A simple change in lifestyle or products may make your pet’s symptom’s disappear.  Veterinarians are familiar with many different allergens and will be able to recommend the appropriate, hypoallergenic replacement for you.

4) Does your pet have year-round, constant allergy symptoms?

If so, your pet may have a food allergy.  Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats rarely are allergic to grains and your grain-free food is not hypoallergenic for them.  Most pets are allergic to one animal protein or another.  Your veterinarian can get you samples of hypoallergenic dog or cat foods to see if that relieves the symptoms.  This process may take several weeks before you see a change in your pet’s health.  If your veterinarian confirms that your pet has a food allergy, it is likely that he or she will need to be on a prescription diet for the rest of their lives.  But don’t think your pet will miss out too much-some companies products hypoallergenic treats too!

How did you answer these questions for your pet?  Let us know in the comments below!