New, safe and effective allergy medication

Published 12:09 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Technology has finally produced safe, effective allergy medications for dogs. Allergies are one of the most common problems we see in dogs. In the past, we have struggled to treat allergies in dogs because safe medications aren’t very effective and effective medications have certain potential significant short and long-term side effects.

Recently two new medications have become available for allergies in dogs and they are both effective and safe. One comes as a tablet and the other is an injection. The tablets are best given twice a day for the first two weeks and then once a day for as long as necessary. The injection is given one time subcutaneously, or just under the skin, and lasts for four to eight weeks.

Although dogs and cats are very similar to people with respect to many medical conditions, they are extremely different from people when it comes to allergies. Dogs and cats can certainly suffer the same kind of symptoms from allergies, but they are much more likely to have skin problems.

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People and pets can be allergic to such things as pollen from flowers and trees, grass, weeds, mildew, dust mites, insects, fleas, chemicals and food. Sometimes pets experience the typical respiratory symptoms of sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing and itchy, watery eyes. Most often, pets’ allergy symptoms are itching, scratching and chewing due to severely inflamed skin.

Each type of allergy has a typical pattern of hair loss and irritated skin. For example, dogs with inhalant allergies usually lick or chew on their paws. They may itch a lot on the underside of their chest and abdomen.

Flea allergies in dogs cause hair loss and inflamed skin at the base of their tail and on their rear legs. Dogs with food allergies can itch anywhere on their body, but often they have reoccurring or chronic ear infections and problems with impacted anal glands.

Cats with food allergies usually have intense itching around their neck and head. Other allergies in cats often present with scabs around their neck and at the base of their tail.

Contact allergies are simply when a pet’s skin comes into contact with an irritant. The underside of the pet is usually affected because that is the area affected while lying down.

If your dog has seasonal allergies, it suggests inhalant allergies. Year-round allergies would suggest possible food allergies. Of course, flea allergies are more common in the spring, summer and fall, but can also be a problem in the winter in certain situations.

More often than not, pets have more than one type of allergy. They may have inhalant and food allergy at the same time. Those pets tend to be more difficult to diagnose and treat.

Since pets’ allergies are so different from allergies in people, treatment is often very challenging. Most of the time, medications such as over-the-counter antihistamines, work much better for people than animals. Basically, antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin or Zyrtec work mildly and only approximately 25 percent of the time.

Now there are two very unique, safe and effective medications we use currently to treat pets’ allergies. Each pet’s treatment protocol is curtailed to the individual depending on the type and severity of their allergies.

Normally, diagnosing and treating pets’ allergies requires tracking and following the patient’s signs and symptoms over a period of time documenting time of year, severity of symptoms and response to treatments. Using this type of treatment plan allows your veterinarian to develop the best protocol specific for your pet.

If your pet is showing any symptoms of allergies, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.