Allergies Part 1

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , /

Good afternoon this is Dr. Bill
Christenberry at Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic and today we’re going to start a
series we’re going to be talking about allergies and this will be part one in a
three-part series that we’re going to be talking about that. Why are we
talking about allergies? Well, allergies are the number two reason why pets are
presented here at our clinic anyway and probably in most other clinics as well.
The first reason is because of stomach and gastrointestinal upset but allergies
are number two, see a lot of dogs and cats with allergies. Today I’ll focus
mostly about dog allergies but we’ll talk about cats as well but the most
common type of allergy is flea allergy. Sounds simple but it is the most common
type and it’s fairly easy to recognize when you see a dog come in with flea
allergy usually they’re itching and have some hair loss and some problems in the
skin at the base of the tail. That’s the most common place to see that and so it
makes it relatively easy to diagnose a flea allergy if you see that. Now that’s
not always what’s causing the allergies if you see hair loss and itching and
pustules and skin lesions at the tail base but usually it is flea allergy. It’s interesting because the reason that dogs and cats are reacting to fleas is
because the saliva of the flea. It’s when the dog or the cat is bitten by the flea
then the saliva gets into their system, into their bloodstream and then their
immune system has a hyper reaction. It’s an overreaction that’s basically what
allergies are from the immune system to saliva of the flea. So it doesn’t matter if the flea bites the dog or the cat on the tip of the nose they’re going
to have the reaction at that same area usually over the base of the tail. So
it’s not that fleas congregate the base of the tail but that’s where
the dog or a cat tends to have a response to an allergy. Now when cats have flea allergy they also they have that at the base of the
tail but one of the things we also see with cats is they have on their neck and
their chin and around their ears their whole around their head and their neck
gets little tiny scabs and pustules and hair loss in addition to seeing it at
the base of the tail like you would a dog. So treatment obviously flea control
if you had an allergy to shrimp and you kept eating shrimp you were gonna
continue to have an allergy so obviously the solution to flea allergies is to
control the fleas well that’s obviously again easier said than done. Because in Alabama fleas are rampant but there are some great medications out now that we can use. There are some topicals that we’ve been using for years that
work real well but the good thing now is what we have some oral medications so
you don’t have to put the topical medication on the dog and the mess and
whatnot and those work very well and they’re
usually monthly we have one that actually works for three months for
fleas and ticks as well. That helps to control the fleas now the fleas have a
life cycle and if you’re seeing fleas and then you start the medication then
it’s going to take some time for the fleas to work through that life cycle so
it’s not going to immediately take care of the problem because you’ll kill the
adult fleas that are on the dog or the cat with the medication that you’re
giving but then there are larvae in the environment and there are eggs in the
environment and those have to hatch out and they’re going to get on the dog or
the cat and then they have to bite the dog or the cat before they’ll die so
that can take a few weeks for that to occur so don’t expect immediate results
if you just start treating your dog or cat for fleas. Which leads me to year-round treatment is recommended especially here in
Alabama because we have warm days all through the year and that’s when the
fleas begin hatching out that’s when they breed. So we recommend that they
stay on flea treatment all year round to keep fleas controlled because if you stop
it in the fall and then we have warm days in the winter which we always will
and then the fleas begin hatching out then you’re not going to have any
protection and then you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle in the spring
when they really get going. So, flea allergy base of the tail on dogs,
base the tail and around the neck for cats. Flea control is your main treatment
we can treat them for the symptoms of the flea allergy which is obviously
mostly the itching and we can there are several different products that we can
use for that. Mostly a cortisone injection, a steroid injection is the
best thing short-term to control the itching while you’re getting the fleas
under control. And sometimes there are infections because the skin is damaged
and so if that’s the case then we’ll put them on antibiotics as well to control
that. That’s basically our information about flea allergy, control
of fleas, treatment for temporary symptoms and we should be able to keep
them with the great products we have now we should be able to keep our pets
flea free. We’ll see you next time for part 2.

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