Dog Itchiness – 隻狗好痕!怎麼辦?

What is affecting my pet to cause itchiness?

Itchiness can be caused by so many reasons. Some reasons may be caused by matters that are preventable. Some reasons may be avoidable entirely by applying logical and restrained management. To name a few common reasons:

  • Environmental / Contact Allergy
  • Food Allergy
  • Parasitic infection
  • Parasitic bites (mosquitoe / tick / fleas / mites)
  • Dry skin secondary to over-shampoo/ grooming

Allergy (敏感症)

Allergy to certain materials, foods, proteins, or biological matter from living organisms (eg. flea dirt) causes the animal’s body to produce an unusually high amount of chemical(s) that leads to the feeling of itchiness. There are several versions of “allergic” response.

Immediate allergic response (過敏性反應)

Immediate allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is seen with increased production of IgE and IgG (免疫球蛋白 E/ M) which is a rare occurrence. This is seen with cases such as peanut allergies or acute allergic reactions after vaccination. 

Allergy tests that investigates an animal’s allergic response to food – done via testing the animal’s blood – usually checks for levels of IgE to a range of foods. These food panels may range from 20 to nearly 50 food types.

IgE response however does not reflect the body’s reaction to long term exposure of food or environmental pathogens.

anaphylaxis-post-vax.jpg

Chronic / Cumulative sensitivities (慢性過敏性反應 / 不耐性反應)

Intolerance (不耐性反應) to food or contact materials develop over a longer period of time, unlike immediate allergic response. The body produces IgA and IgM (免疫球蛋白 A / M) to fight against the development of intolerance which may be measured in saliva (口水) if intolerance to food was to be investigated.

Sensitivity to food may take up to 72 hours to become apparent.

Therefore, it is essential to identify the reason for causing the itchiness. This is because when the cause is identified, a suitable course of treatment can be instituted. For example, a client noticed her dog is always itchy and has been so since growing up as a puppy. She feeds her dog dry dog food, takes her dog out for walks and regularly puts a light T-shirt on him to keep him getting cold. As you can see here – dog food components may be cause food allergy; going on walks allows the dog’s body to come into contact with environmental allergens; the materials that makes up the T-shirt such as polyester, nylon, cotton, spandex – may lead to contact allergy. This dog was tested for allergy against several several types of materials (allergens) and it was found that he was severely allergic to cotton. Once this was identified, the owner stopped putting T-shirts on her dog. The itchiness went away. Case solved.

Allergy may not always be easy to diagnose. Sometimes, it may be clarified just by listening to information the pet owner tells us. Sometimes, we may need to collect blood from your pet to identify what the problem is. Sometimes, a saliva sample is all we need.

 

Intolerance to food often shows up on your pet as:

  • Irregular interest to eat (對食物興趣不穏定 – 要常轉新糧食)
  • Unpredictable bouts of soft sticky stools (軟而黏屎便)
  • Grumbling tummy (腹鳴)
  • Increasing itchiness (痕癢)
  • Chronic skin problem (長期皮膚病)

Does your pet have problems we just mentioned? If so, contact us on 2915 2095 to arrange for a consultation so we can discuss about allergies and intolerances with you!

 

 

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