Magazine article USA TODAY

It's Allergy Season for Dogs, Too

Magazine article USA TODAY

It's Allergy Season for Dogs, Too

Article excerpt

Unlike people who display respiratory symptoms due to their allergies, dogs most commonly develop skin rashes. Understanding canine allergies and their management is the first step in protecting your dog this spring, points out Novartis Animal Health US, Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

Skin is a dog's single largest organ, representing 12% of an adult canine's body weight. It is a temperature regulator, an important protector from the environment, and the primary indicator of allergic reactions. Offending environmental allergens frequently enter the dog's body through direct contact with the skin. Canine skin disease is not that unusual. The most frequent signs include redness (erythema), itching (pruritus), and hair loss (alopecia).

Another common canine allergy is atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory, itchy, allergic skin disease caused by a hypersensitivity to common environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, or dust mites. Atopy, the most common allergic condition in dogs--7,000,000 are affected--tends to appear between six months and three years of age and often is a lifelong condition that can lead to hair loss, red skin, lesions, and secondary infections.

Another is flea allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Most dogs show immediate hypersensitivity with the primary clinical sign being itchiness. Lesions from the reaction usually appear on the back, tail, or hips.

Food allergy, meanwhile, is a response to ingredients that causes either skin or gastrointestinal tract disease. …

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