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Allergies & itchy skin

Itchy skin and ear disease in dogs & cats are commonly seen by our vets at Bentleigh Vet Clinic.

Allergies cause these and it can be a very frustrating condition for both the pet and the pet owner. But, there are many things you can try to help alleviate the symptoms. Most skin allergies are due to airborne pollens and not food. It is estimated that over 85% of cases are due to the inhalation or ingestion of pollens. Skin allergies are difficult to determine and blood or skin testing is often required to help diagnose the problem.

Types of allergies include:

  • Flea bite (flea saliva sensitivity)

  • Food

  • Atopy (inhaled allergies)

  • Contact


The development of illness due to an allergic reaction to an inhaled,

contact, or ingested allergen.

Pets show signs of allergies in very different ways to our typical signs of sneezing and coughing. So, it's important for us to be able to detect signs of allergies in pets:

  • Excessive licking

  • General odor

  • Ear inflammation or discharge

  • Copper-stained paws

  • Hair loss

  • Circular crusty skin lesions

  • Red pimples

  • Greasy skin

  • Dandruff

  • Thickened skin

The distribution of skin lesions may also indicate the cause of allergies. Here are some commonly affected areas by allergic causes. Please note that this may not apply to all cases.


Diagnosis of allergies is based on:

  • History

  • Physical exam

  • Parasite control

  • Skin smears

  • Skin scrapings

  • Cultures

  • Urine tests

  • Blood tests

  • Allergy testing


Allergy management may consist of:

  • Avoidance of allergens

  • Air filters to reduce allergens in the home environment

  • Removal of shoes to minimize allergens being brought into the home environment

  • Regular flea control

  • Veterinary medications to relieve symptoms such as antihistamines or corticosteroids

  • Veterinary medications such as Oclacitinib or Cyclosporine

  • Dietary supplements such as fatty acids

  • Topical treatments such as medicated shampoos or skin ointments

  • Desensitization from allergy testing and shots

Contact us for more information Bentleigh Veterinary Clinic

315 Centre Road Bentleigh 3204 Victoria, Australia Tel 03 9557 9500


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