How to Help Your Pet’s Allergies: Jethro’s Story

Pet Allergies - Largo, Florida - Seminole Boulevard Animal HospitalMeet my “boy” Jethro, a 9-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has been struggling with allergies since 2015. Jethro started “dragging” himself around on his belly because he was so itchy and this skin irritation would cause redness and bumps all over his abdomen. He also would lick his paws, the air, and his belly constantly. My poor boy was miserable but always happy to wag his tail and give kisses.

Knowing he needed help I brought him into the clinic, and we performed a series of tests, a skin scraping looking for mites, skin cytology to check for bacteria, and bloodwork; as a result, we learned that it was allergies and we started him on antihistamines to relieve the itching, but they did not work. We then moved to Apoquel, a non-steroidal oral medication and it worked for a short time, then the itching started up again and the doctor decided to try him on another treatment called Cytopoint. This is an injection that can be given every 6 weeks to 3 months, depending on how long his symptoms stay at bay.

Jethro's Story - Largo, Florida - Seminole Boulevard Animal HospitalAlong with medication, a crucial part of his treatment plan is for him to have regular baths at least once a week if not more. People always think that you can “dry” their skin out by bathing too much. This definitely is not true; in fact, the more I bath him, the less itchy he is. As is true for any long term medication, I have bloodwork done every six months to make sure he stays healthy. I also feed Purina Derm Defense, which is a pet food designed to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs. As long as I keep up on his baths, the right food and medication, Jethro continues to do well and his happy crazy self.

Allergies are an ongoing problem in Florida, with our warm humid temperatures we very seldom get a break from allergies, this doesn’t only apply to people but your pets as well. There are a wide range of triggers that are potential allergens to dogs and cats, the most common being pollens, mold spores, dust mites, shed skin cells (similar to “pet allergies” in people), insect proteins such as flea saliva, and some medications and foods.

How Do I Know If My Pet Has an Allergy?

Your pet may start displaying signs of any one of these allergies through the following symptoms:

• Skin Irritation (redness, or bumps)
• Itching (in one area or all over)
• Coughing
• Sneezing
• Wheezing
• Discharge from Eyes or Nose
• Scratching the ears or shaking their head
• Chronic licking of one area

If you suspect that your pet may be suffering from allergies, please call or send a text (727) 587-0200 to set up an appointment. After a complete physical exam our doctor may run diagnostics to help identify the cause, this will enable him to get your pet on a treatment plan specifically tailored to his/her individual lifestyle needs as soon as possible.