Itching, scratching, shaking…. O MY!
The above symptoms are one of the most common reasons why pets come to see us for evaluation. Itching, scratching, and shaking the head are all symptoms of allergies. For our pets, allergies come from two main sources. Environmental allergies and food allergies.
Here in Sarasota we are blessed with beautiful weather but also cursed with different forms of pollen almost year-round. Your pet may only exhibit allergy symptoms during one particular pollen season or may react to multiple different pollens. For example in the spring we usually see an overabundance of yellow oak pollen coat everything, and in the summer our ragweed and grass pollens skyrocket. Your pet may only react to one, neither, or both and also may not react at all during certain years. This can be incredible frustrating as an owner to try and get ahead of.
Food allergies show a different pattern of symptoms than environment allergies. While the individual symptoms are often very similar, the timing is not. With food allergies our pets usually have consistent itching and scratching year-round without a seasonal break. The top two allergies in dogs are beef and chicken NOT grain. This is one of the biggest nutritional misconceptions. Less than 5% of our pets are allergic to grain and grain free diets have be linked to dangerous forms of heart disease.
As your veterinarian we rely heavilty on your observations as a pet owner. You know your pets best and those seasonality patterns or areas most affected are very important to us. We use those clues to best determine the treatment for these allergies. This can range from just medications during the most affected times all the way to allergy testing for immunotherapy.
If all of these sounds familar for your pet let us know and we can discuss a personalized plan to get ahead of allergy season!