By Debra Manfield, Owner
Ever had an itch you couldn’t scratch? Or an itch that a scratch or two wouldn’t do? Picture your pooch or pussycat stopping mid-meal, mid-play, mid-walk, even mid-sleep to scratch, and scratch, and scratch. It’s annoying and irritating to them, and to you (don’t those jangling tags drive you nuts)!
Now’s the time to figure this whole thing out. To narrow down the cause of your pet’s peeves, ask yourself these questions:
- Where on the body does the licking, chewing and/or scratching occur?
- Is the amount of licking, chewing and scratching excessive?
- Is the affected area pink, red, inflamed or infected?
- Is your dog/cat more irritable?
- Is the coat sparse? Does the pet smell?
- Is the skin thick and scaly?
Allergies develop because your pet’s immune system becomes hypersensitive. Any previous benign substance like pollen, food, mites, or grass can set off an alarm starting a biochemical war inside.
The most prevalent allergies are fleabite hypersensitivity, Atopic disease (environment), and food hypersensitivity or allergy. Certainly there are other causes of allergies, but these are the most common.
Before you seek help from your veterinarian, be your pets’ diagnostician. Write things down on a calendar or in a journal and observe your pets’ behavior. This information will be very valuable when you do visit with your veterinarian.
Treatments run the gambit from avoiding the trigger(s), food elimination trials, treating just the symptoms (anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines and corticosteroids), allergy shots, feeding “real” food versus processed food (kibble), acupuncture, supplements (including herbs), homeopathy, and NAET (muscle testing).
The thing to remember is that your itchy pet does not have to suffer, and believe it, they are miserable. With some due diligence, and patience, you can make your pet’s life happier and healthier.
For more in depth research about allergies the following resources are available:
WDJ April, 2011 “Itching to be Well” by Nancy Kerns
The Whole Dog “Your Dog’s Itchy Skin” by Dr. Jeannie Thomason
Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, February – April 1998. “Veterinary NAET: The Veterinary Application of NAET: A Breakthrough Approach to Allergy Resolution” by Roger W. Valentine, DVM and Rahmie Valentine, OMD