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Allergies in Pets: A Primer

[caption id="attachment_750" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo: Adrian Jack Bunsby[/caption] Does your cat or dog lick themselves excessively, have watery eyes or digestive upset? If so, this could be a sign of allergies. Just like humans, cats and dogs can suffer from allergies (when the immune system overreacts to proteins in food or the environment). Common environmental allergies include: reactions to flea bites, grasses/trees/weeds, dust mites, and mold. Common food allergies include: beef, pork (mainly in cats), chicken, turkey, wheat gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy. Many cats and dogs experience both types of allergies. Diagnosis Diagnosing an allergy often involves ruling out other conditions (e.g. mange or infections) as well as testing either through the systematic elimination of possible allergens or skin testing (just like in humans). Some vets recommend blood tests however these are limited to environmental allergens as they are not a reliable test for food allergens. Treatments Depending on the cause of the allergy,...

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