Dog Allergies

by Lisa
(New York, NY)

Reader Question: What Steps Should I Take To Treat Dog Allergies?

My 2.5 yr old Aussie has severe eye allergies with 2 paw also itching. His eyes are red in the eye and surrounding the eye he has lost all hair around his eye and he is very uncomfortable. His 2 back paws are also red and itchy and he has some bald areas as well. Please advice.

Lisa Snyder

Vet’s Recommendations For Treating Dog Allergies

Hi Lisa,

I’m afraid the list of potential problems that could be to blame for your dog’s symptoms is pretty long and would require that I perform a physical exam and take some diagnostic samples before I could give you a definitive diagnosis. Possibilities include environmental allergies (e.g., to pollen, mold, or dust mites); food allergies; parasitic diseases; autoimmune diseases; bacterial, fungal and yeast infections; and more.

If your dog were my patient, I would want to perform a skin scraping to look for mites, a fungal culture to rule out ringworm, and skin cytology to evaluate for bacterial and yeast infections. At this point I would treat for anything I found and even if all the tests were negative, put her on a broad-spectrum anti-parasite medication like Revolution to treat for some of the mites that can be hard to find on skin scrapings.

If after this her condition was not greatly improved, we’d have to discus allergy testing (both for food allergies and for environmental allergies) and maybe even consider taking skin biopsies. Finding the underlying cause of a dog’s chronic skin problems can be difficult and oftentimes takes several visits to your veterinarian and sometimes even a referral to a veterinary dermatologist.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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