Allergies and Dermatology

Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections or parasites such as fleas and mites. Most allergies appear after the pet is six months of age, with the majority of affected dogs over age two. The most common symptom associated with allergies is localized or generalized itching of the skin. Other symptoms include respiratory distress (coughing, sneezing and wheezing) or digestive problems, which cause vomiting, flatulence or diarrhea. These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.

It is important to be able to identify the first signs and symptoms of allergies and dermatological conditions including:

  • Scratching, licking, chewing or biting the skin, feet and ears
  • Red, raised, scaly areas on the skin
  • Bumps, crusts or pus-filled vesicles on the skin
  • Increased skin pigmentation
  • Thickened skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Salivary staining (brown color)
  • Head shaking

We can diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. However, many dermatologic diseases or conditions require additional tests to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of his or her physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies. If left untreated, allergic reactions and skin conditions can become serious medical concerns.