Dermatology | Allergies

Dermatology and the treatment of skin allergies is near and dear to our hearts.  Living in Southern California, we treat year-round allergies rather than having true “allergy seasons” like in other parts of the country.

Dogs and cats have different allergy symptoms than people.  While we commonly think of “hay-fever” and upper respiratory allergies in people, dogs and cats become itchy as their number one allergy symptom.  Dogs lick, chew, or scratch when they are itchy.  Cats may scratch, but also commonly lick or overgroom areas that itch.  Areas of red skin, hair loss, or scabbing can all signal itchiness and allergies.

The most common skin problem we treat is allergies to environmental allergens, which means pollen from grasses, weeds, and trees as well as molds and dust mites.  In addition to environmental allergies, food hypersensitivities and flea allergies are other frequent causes of skin problems.  We can now test for both environmental and food related allergies with a simple blood test.  Mild cases can be treated with topical therapies (shampoos, sprays, etc.) but more severe cases can require oral or injectable medications to stop the itching and inflammation.   We also have modern mono-clonal antibody therapy and other extremely effective ways to treat these allergies.  Long gone are the days of steroid treatments and all their associated side affects.

In keeping with our integrative veterinary approach, here at CAWC we will also explore holistic therapies as part of your dermatological evaluation.  Discussing food options such as kibble, home cooked diets, or raw meals, as well as the protein and carbohydrates they contain, are important in a holistic interpretation of your pets skin.  Chinese and Western herbal therapies are also valuable in the treatment of these disorders.  Depending on your pets allergy condition, there may be some topical herbal remedies that could also be helpful in keeping their skin healthy.  Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments may also be discussed if appropriate.

Dermatology also encompasses the many skin and subcutaneous masses that pets have.  We can do a needle sample (aspirate), biopsy, or remove and test any masses you find.  We also diagnose and treat hormonal skin disease and other conditions that cause skin changes.  Make a dermatology appointment with us, and we can discuss what we need to do to diagnose and treat your pet’s skin so it looks and feels healthy again.