Treating allergies1st April 2017
This article is for anyone with an itchy pet, as we run through some of the key treatments we use.
All mammals have the potential to develop an allergic reaction which could be debilitating, stressful and painful. Unchecked, significant damage can occur through nibbling, scratching and rubbing. If your pet acquires an allergy, he or she could end up with open wounds, hair loss and terrible secondary infections, so anything we can do to help is good.
At Bollington Veterinary Centre we spend a lot of time examining and diagnosing skin problems, and we’ll spend plenty of time with you explaining what’s involved and how we can help.
What drugs do we use?
1. Antihistamines – these are often used to reduce the degree of ‘itch’. There are a variety of different antihistamines available and some are certainly more effective than others. They work by blocking the effects of histamine, the chemical responsible for many of the allergy symptoms.
Don’t be tempted to use human antihistamines, as some can produce an adverse reaction in animals. Always check with us first.
2. Steroids – we tend to reserve these for acute and severe allergic reactions. They can be given by injection, and for more long term treatments, by tablet. If your pet has been prescribed steroids, it’s vital you follow the medication directions accurately.
Steroids are used as they reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation.
3. Anti-allergy vaccines – there have been some great advancements in managing allergic skin disease using anti-allergy vaccination injections. They don’t work in all cases, but for some animals with multiple allergies (atopy), the vaccines can provide good relief.
We inject modified preparations of the problem allergens (which have been identified by blood tests) in an attempt to create tolerance and reduce clinical signs.
4. Immunosuppressive drugs – at Bollington Veterinary Centre we occasionally use immunosuppressive drugs to manage some chronic debilitating skin conditions. Atopy is one of those conditions where we may suggest using this medicine. We will always discuss this with you first, as we’ll need to explain the pros and cons of treatment.
One of the more common drugs we use is called cyclosporine.
5. Antibiotics – these are used if the skin has become infected as a result of scratching or nibbling. As with all infections treated with antibiotics, you must make sure your pet completes the course.
6. Shampoos – many allergic skin problems result in the skin becoming greasy and scurfy with scabs and sores. In these cases, our vets will tend to prescribe medicated shampoos to help improve the overall health of the skin.
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