Allergies and allergens
Allergies are one of the most common reason people take their pet(s) to the vet. Some pets are allergic to just one or two things while others are allergic to just about everything.
Common types of allergies include:
- Insect bites
- Food allergies
- Contact allergies
- Inhalation allergies
- Drug reactions
Allergens are the things that can trigger off an allergic reaction e.g. pollen, bee stings, flea saliva.
Some pets can inhale allergens and break out in a skin rash. We call these pets atopic. If atopic, they are often also allergic to things they come directly in contact with e.g. grasses, weeds, house dust mites.
We don't often see asthma in dogs- it's usually the skin that "breaks out" following an allergic reaction. Cats can present with the classical "lung" asthma seen in people.
Have a look at these pages on allergens to gain an insight into how allergens cause allergic reactions.