What are the clinical signs that my dog may have an allergy?
As veterinary dermatologists we see dogs present to us with a variety of allergic symptoms which include but are not limited to:
- Excessive licking
- Scratching or rubbing
- Irritated/infected skin, paws or ears
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin
- Pyotraumatic folliculitis (Hotspot)
- Head-shaking/foul-smelling ears
- Scooting on their bottom
- Red puffy eyelids
- Excessive sneezing or reverse-sneezing
- Urticaria (hives)
If your dog exhibits any of these signs you should seek veterinary advice. Ignoring the underlying cause of the above clinical symptoms usually results in their recurrence once allergy medications are discontinued.
As veterinary dermatology specialists, our emphasis is on diagnosing the underlying cause for your pet’s symptoms. There are a variety of allergies that we see including flea bite hypersensitivity, food allergy, environmental allergy (pollens, house dust mites, moulds, insects) and contact hypersensitivity. We take a methodical approach to diagnosis your pet’s condition and implement a management strategy that works for both you and your pet.
As veterinarians, we can diagnose environmental allergies (by performing a thorough physical exam, collecting a robust medical history and ruling out other causes).
Once we’ve confirmed your pet’s diagnosis we can perform allergy testing to identify the exact triggers for your pets environmental allergy. Your pet’s allergy test results can then be used to either practice strategic allergen avoidance, or, more commonly the pet will start on allergen specific immunotherapy (an “allergy vaccine”) with the aim of desensitising them to their triggers and reducing the need for symptomatic (band-aid) allergy medications.