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Cat, Dog & Horse Allergies Explained

Allergy in Dogs

Although itching may be the most common allergy symptom in dogs, reactions are typically complex and are often manifested in a variety of ways.

The most common types of allergy in dogs are atopy, and food and flea allergies. Atopy is the most significant type, affecting around 15% of all dogs. The first symptoms generally occur before the age of 3 years, but it can occur in older dogs too.

Common symptoms of allergic reactions include sneezing, vomiting, red or scaly skin, hair loss, itchy or runny eyes, snoring, swollen paws, and constant licking. In addition to being uncomfortable for your canine patients, allergies can lead to other complications such as bacteria or yeast infections of the skin or ears (Rosser, 2004).

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Allergy in Cats

Itching is a common allergy symptom in cats and often manifests into other symptoms initiated by a variety of environmental, household, and food triggers.

Our feline friends can suffer from allergies too. Cats are less likely to show signs of allergy, so detecting whether an allergy is present is quite challenging. The most common types of allergy in cats are atopy and flea allergy. Atopy affects around 12.5% of all cats.

If your cat is already suffering from asthma, atopy often worsens the symptoms. Feline atopy is especially under-diagnosed, because a common symptom in many cats is over-grooming, which is mistaken for normal behavior or anxiety.

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Allergy in Horses

Allergies caused by different environmental and barn conditions are becoming increasingly prevalent in horses.

Horses can have allergies, in which their immune system over-reacts to harmless everyday substances. Horses can be exposed to these substances, also called allergens, by breathing them in or eating them. Most often it is through direct contact of the allergen with the horse’s skin. If the horse’s immune system recognizes these allergens and labels them as ‘foreign’, rather than as a harmless substance, it starts producing inflammatory agents that initiate an allergic reaction.

Allergies can be hereditary but can also develop over time after repeated exposure to an allergen. The first signs of allergy usually appear in horses aged between 1 and 6 years. Most horses no longer roam the fields and graze on fresh grass; they now spend most of their day in a stable, where there is often poor air circulation.

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The first choice for treating allergy is immunotherapy, a customized, all-natural treatment which is safe and effective suitable for long term use.

Key facts about allergy in dogs, cat & horses

  • Allergy is a very common disease in dogs, cats & horses.
  • Be aware of any sign that suggests your pet or horse has an allergy.
  • Most signs can be considered to be normal behavior, so it is important to do an allergy check-up with your vet.
  • It is important to identify which allergens are causing the allergy so they can be avoided and the pet or horse can be treated appropriately.
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