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Dog Allergies and Lesion Locations

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Common Allergic Lesion Locations

A flea allergy primarily affects the back half of the dog, especially over the hips and base of the tail.

Food allergies are said to affect "ears and rears." It can also cause itching in the face and paws.

Allergies to pollen, molds, and dust mites frequently cause the head and feet to be itchy.

Talk to your veterinarian if you notice any “itchiness” in your dog that is out of the ordinary.

Dogs are taken to the veterinarian for skin problems more than any other reason. Most often they are itchy and that itchiness is typically due to allergies. The text of canine and feline dermatological diseases is large because there are hundreds of skin diseases, however, it can help to start with some generalities when determining the cause.

Again, there are many causes of itchiness, but allergies are one of the most prevalent causes. The most common allergies are flea allergy, food allergy and atopy, which is an allergy to environmental allergens, especially pollen, molds, and house dust mites (which are in all houses). The location of the lesions and itchiness can give clues as to the type of allergy.  

Flea allergies are very common. With this allergy, pets are most itchy in the back half of the dog. Commonly there is hair loss, redness, and possibly scabs and infections over the dog's hips and tail base. You may not even see fleas!  If a pet is allergic to fleas, all it takes is one flea to make the dog incredibly itchy.  When the pet is licking and chewing at itself, he or she often eats the flea which then destroys the evidence.  The flea bite has still set off an inflammatory response so the pet is still itchy.  Veterinarians seeing dogs with lesions in these areas will suspect a flea allergy even if they don’t see any fleas.

A food allergy is also a very common allergy. Dogs show food allergy symptoms in their ears, face, feet, or rear. Pets don't become allergic to a brand, they are allergic to one or more ingredients. Thus just changing brands of food probably won't help the itchiness.  To make matters more difficult, research shows that that in the manufacturing process of pet foods, there is a lot of cross contamination of ingredients. This means there are ingredients in the food that are not on the label. There is no valid blood or skin test to determine if your pet has a food allergy, but your veterinarian can help you find a food to use as a test (commonly this is rabbit and potato by Royal Canin as this is manufactured  for food trials since there are no other ingredients.)

Atopy, the allergy to such environmental things as pollen, house dust mites, and molds, frequently causes the dog to be itchy in the face or feet. Unfortunately this type of allergy is harder to control because it is impossible to totally remove these items from the pets life. Luckily many dogs can be helped with hyposensitization by a veterinary dermatologist or by the drug Atopica.  

Skin lesions from allergies are frequent as well. These generalities are not hard-and-fast rules, but can used as a starting point. Your veterinarian will also check for any secondary skin infections as these will make the dog itchy even if you get rid of the allergen from the dog's environment. Your veterinarian can help your itchy dog, since this the most common complaint they see, they have lots of experience!

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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