Pet won't stop scratching? It could be allergies

If you have dogs, you know that when they itch, it makes both of you suffer. And left untreated, the cause of the itching can lead to infection.

NEW ORLEANS, LA. - If you have dogs, you know that when they itch, it makes both of you suffer. And left untreated, the cause of the itching can lead to infection.

And now there are many new treatments to help your canine companion with what's causing all the scratching.

Like many New Orleans people, 'Bull' the Catahoula-Pit Bull mix, suffers from allergies.

"Nothing is more frustrating or miserable than to see your dog or your cat just sit there and scratch and scratch," said Dr. Adrianna Smith, a Community Clinic Veterinarian with the Louisiana SPCA. 

Dr. Smith is Bull's owner and she sees skin hot spots on lots of local dogs because New Orleans is a hot spot year round. Veterinarians from around the country recognize that too.

"Because of humidity, we see a lot of allergens. We know the flea problem in New Orleans is huge," said Dr. Jeff Werber, a Veterinarian in Los Angeles.

Dog allergies can be from food, insects and their saliva when they bite, or the environment, like grasses, mold and tobacco. They can also have a combination. But they don't get a runny nose or eyes like their two-legged companions.

"Dogs present their allergies through their skin and through their ears," explained Dr. Smith.

"The Terriers seem to be very affected by allergies and it's not just fleas. Usually, if you see dogs really rubbing at the bellies, the bottom, the lower back, and the groin area, you have to think pollens," explained Dr. Werber. 

First, flea control is paramount. Then, the good news is that there are new products on the market to help soothe the irritation. There are special shampoos, and foods without certain carbs and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. That's the good fat in salmon. That's what's really helping Bull.

There's also a new injection started at once a month called Cytopoint. There is also a new medication that works within hours.

"My clients love it. I have two of my own dogs on it. It's called Apoquel and it's actually the first medication of its type that is specifically geared to solving the actual itch problem," said Dr. Werber.

You can get helpful tips and take the "Itch Instinct" quiz here: https://www.youranimalinstinct.com/

It's free and when you take it, the animal health company Zoetis, will make a donation to its K-9 Courage Program. It helps service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD and police dogs with their health care.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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