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Five Myths About Environmental Allergies (Atopy) in Dogs and Cats

Allergies Pollen

Myth # 1:  Environmental allergies are always seasonal – the symptoms change in severity with the seasons.

  • Most patients with environmental allergies experience symptoms year-round.  This is due to a combination of factors.  For example, indoor allergens such as house dust mite and molds are present year-round.

Myth #2:  You can diagnose environmental allergies with a hair test.

  • Hair tests are not reliable as a diagnostic aid and will not  help with vaccine formulation.  The most accurate test is an intradermal (skin) test.  Dermatologists perform this test to create allergy vaccines (allergy specific immunotherapy).

Myth #3:  There is a cure for environmental allergies.

  • Although, there is no cure for environmental allergies, with appropriate and targeted treatments we can keep your pet comfortable.  The gold standard therapy according to the American Veterinary Dermatology Association is allergy specific immunotherapy based on an intradermal (skin) test.  

Myth #4:  Symptoms of environmental allergies include runny nose and sneezing.

  • While these may be common symptoms in humans, dogs and cats have different symptoms.  Common symptoms in dogs and cats include recurrent skin and ear infections, and itching (licking, scratching, chewing, biting).

Myth #5:  My pet will “grow-out” of its allergic symptoms.

  • Unlike humans who can grow out of childhood allergies, pet’s symptoms will get worse over time.  The longer you wait the less responsive they may become to treatment.  We recommend a board certified veterinary dermatologist to evaluate persistent skin or ear problems before they become un-treatable.