Veterinary Topics

Pet Allergies

Pets can develop severe allergic problems. For some pets, exposure to certain foods, treats, bedding materials, and other common things in their environment makes life miserable.

a dog sitting on a rug

Allergies: Licking, Chewing, Hair Loss, and Mouth Pain

During your pet’s thorough exam, your veterinarian may ask a number of detailed questions to help identify the source of your pet’s symptoms and eliminate the problem completely.

Medications can be useful to relieve symptoms and reduce discomfort, but it is equally important to attempt to eliminate the source of the irritation. One comparison of this might be a person suffering from asthma who eliminates exposure to cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes and also uses an inhaler to relieve airway tightness.

At Alpine Animal Clinic, our focus is on finding solutions rather than covering up problems.

Tooth loss by food allergies in young cat

This young cat has severe food allergies, seen as very red gums and rapid loss of gingival tissue, leading to severe dental disease. She has very severe mouth pain that was unnoticed by her family but demonstrated during her veterinary exam by gently touching her teeth and gums.

Your Alpine Animal Clinic veterinarian will thoroughly examine your cat to ensure they show no signs of food allergies or dental disease.

a dog having skin allergy

Years of severe food allergies have caused this dog’s ears to develop severe polyps, thickening, and calcification (“cauliflower ear”). Surgery may help this patient open up his canals to reduce yeast overgrowth.

If your dog needs frequent ear cleaning and medication to keep them comfortable, something is wrong!

Your veterinarian should address the allergen source with you and help you control your dog’s allergies with another approach before this deformation occurs.

Patient Case Study of Food Allergies

This case is shared by permission and the special request of this dog’s owner.

Hair loss and skin darkening around eyes, symptom of food allergies
You can see this dog suffers from intense itching that causes hair loss and skin darkening around his eyes, nose, and mouth.
a person showing new hair growth around the eyes of a dog
Here is 5 weeks AFTER!

Shown here are photos of a 4-year-old Golden Retriever dog who had suffered from allergies for years. Despite years of extensive treatment with eight different prescription medications prescribed by another Helena veterinarian, he still itched and chewed all over and battled frequent ear infections.

His previous veterinarian prescribed medications, including:

  • Oral steroids
  • Topical steroid creams
  • Oral and topical antibiotics
  • Oral and topical antifungals (anti-yeast medication)
  • Several oral immune-suppressing medications

In spite of all these medications, he STILL lost hair from all over his body and chewed his hind end and feet raw. Exasperated, his owner took him to Alpine Animal Clinic for another opinion.

Dr. Heidi Wampler carefully reviewed the patient’s history and identified several possible problems. She suggested a specific dietary regimen and the elimination of identified possible allergens.

Dr. Wampler also recommends DISCONTINUING ALL prescribed medications, at least temporarily, for the duration of the food trial period.

Just five weeks later, this patient was comfortable for the first time in his life, utilizing only the prescribed food source!

As you can see by comparing the BEFORE and AFTER photos shown here, by eliminating allergens, he had significant regrowth of hair and completely stopped chewing and rubbing his skin.

Best of all, simply by eliminating food allergens, this dog was no longer on any ​​medications!

Some Common Allergy Symptoms

Your pet might demonstrate only one of these and still be allergic.

  • Chewing or licking feet, toes, toenails
  • Ear redness, thickening, and pain
  • Ear infections with bacteria, yeast, or both
  • Rubbing on floor or furniture
  • Scratching or chewing areas of skin
  • Red, irritated, or crusted areas of skin
  • Hair loss, thinning, or dull, broken hair
  • Scooting or licking the anus
  • Red bumps or hives
  • Watery or red, irritated eyes
  • Nasal discharge, sneezing
  • Reverse sneezing (snorking)
  • Coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing
  • Asthma​
  • Red mouth, red gums, tooth loss
  • Diarrhea and Flatulence
  • Weight loss​
  • Vomiting
  • Dental Disease, especially in CATS