Vet in Lakewood shares tips to control pet allergies

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Tips to Control Pet Allergies in Lakewood area
There is no sound estimate of the number of companion animals with allergic conditions simply because many cases go undiagnosed and treated. Allergies, however, can torment your pet, cause behavior problems, and end up costing money for the treatment of secondary health issues. Dr. Jose Arambulo, the lead veterinarian at Bloomfield Animal Hospital in Lakewood, shares these tips to get pet allergies under control.

What is an allergic reaction?

The job of the immune system is to keep potentially dangerous “invaders” out of the body and to destroy those that sneak in. One of its tasks is to expel allergens – proteins from foods, plants, insects, or animals, or chemical elements – that could irritate. Offending proteins bind with antibodies in the blood and attach to mast cells in the skin or other tissues. This causes mast cells to release histamine, potent chemicals that stimulate local inflammation.

An animal may be sensitive to a benign (not dangerous) substance. Then, the normal immune response becomes harmful. Usually, as the pet is exposed to the allergen repeatedly over months or years, the immune system becomes increasingly sensitized. It reaches a point where that allergen or a similar/related one triggers an over-reaction.

Symptoms of allergies in dogs

While some breeds are more prone, any dog in any environment can have allergies. They tend to appear in adult dogs (over six months old), usually showing up by two years of age.

Symptoms present as:
  • Itching (in a localized area or all over the body), often with constant licking
  • Dry, red, or inflamed skin or hives
  • Itchy ears or chronic ear infections
  • Sticky matter in eyes which may have an odor (lots of face rubbing)
  • Discharge from nose
  • Possible swelling of ear flaps, eyelids, lips, or face
  • Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, or in flat-faced breeds “honking”
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools

Signs of cat allergies

Cats can develop allergies at a younger age, sometimes as small kittens. Feline allergy symptoms include:
  • Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing
  • If the cat has been diagnosed with asthma, worsening of the condition
  • Snoring (caused by throat inflammation)
  • Itchy eyes with runny discharge
  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sensitive or swollen paws caused by chewing

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What you can do to help your pet

Symptoms of pet allergies mimic those of other medical conditions, some of which can be life-threatening. If your pet’s symptoms get worse or do not clear up within a few days, please call Bloomfield Animal Hospital right away for qualified care.

Dr. Arambulo will examine the pet and possibly take skin scrapings or a blood sample. This lab workup helps to rule out other causes and to identify sensitizing allergens. Findings may be supplemented with an elimination strategy – removing one potential allergen at a time from the pet’s diet or environment, to see if the condition clears up in its absence. This can be especially helpful in determining food allergies.

Allergy treatment for dogs

Allergy treatment for dogs in Lakewood area Depending on the cause of your dog’s allergies and the severity of symptoms, the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory therapy with corticosteroids, antihistamines, or cyclosporine to block the allergic reaction. A fatty acid dietary supplement can improve the dog’s response to treatment.

Severe cases may call for desensitization therapy. A small amount of the offending antigen is injected into the dog weekly, to reprogram the immune system. About half of the dogs treated in this manner see a significant improvement, and about 25 percent get some benefit from allergy shots, such as a reduction in the use of other medications.

When you return home, bath the dog frequently with therapeutic hypoallergenic shampoo to calm inflamed, itchy skin. Shampoo therapy also removes allergens from the dog’s coat which are transferred to the skin. Flea treatment and prevention is essential.

A wide variety of food elements can cause allergies in dogs and may be layered with other causes. Food allergies typically do not respond to the medications mentioned. A strict hypoallergenic diet is the best course of treatment.

Tips to control pet allergies for cat owners in Lakewood

Treatment for cats may involve injections of cortisone or steroids to soothe reaction to airborne pollen, as well as antihistamines and a flea treatment.

Help your cat recover and reduce the risk of further allergy problems by:
  • Keeping it indoors
  • Using regular preventive flea and tick treatment
  • Switching to dust-free kitty litter
  • Bathing the cat with a therapeutic, feline-specific product several times a week to alleviate itching
  • Avoiding human food and feeding a prescription diet
  • Giving prescribed dietary supplements to be sure the animal gets adequate nutrients
The most important thing to remember about pet allergies is that you are not alone in managing them. Dr. Arambulo and his team at Bloomfield Animal Hospital are only a phone call away – (562) 383-7788 .
Image of Dr Josh Arambulo
Bloomfield Animal Hospital is a trusted name in pets’ preventive, medical, surgical, and emergency care in Lakewood, CA. With a 30-year history as a family-owned pet clinic, it’s reputed for providing modern services in a warm, friendly environment. It’s one of the few veterinary hospitals to be AAHA-accredited.

Dr. Jose Arambulo, owner and chief veterinarian is experienced in treating eye, ear, and skin disorders and is especially interested in internal medicine, dentistry and soft tissue surgery. The hospital also utilizes the services of board-certified veterinarians, Dr. Ann Reed – Radiologist, and Dr. Fred Brewer – Cardiologist.