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Allergies and Skin Diseases in Dogs and Cats



Itchy pets

In Louisiana's tropical climate, allergies and skin diseases pose serious risks for dogs and cats. Pets are more susceptible to skin allergies in this environment. Itchy, inflamed skin, bald patches, and hot spots are common concerns for pet owners.


Seasonal allergies can cause a constant, intense itch. If your dog or cat cannot seem to stop scratching, allergies may be the reason. Itching can occur around the eyes, mouth, feet, armpit, abdomen, thighs, and anus. In addition to scratching, your pet may also drag its face or body across carpeting or other rough surfaces to gain some relief from the itching.

Biting and Licking

Your pet will do anything to try to reduce itching, including biting and licking the skin. Unfortunately, biting, licking and scratching can result in hair loss, open sores and scabs. Sores can become infected, which can make your pet even more uncomfortable.

Frequent Ear Infections

Seasonal allergies can cause ear infections. Symptoms of ear infections in cats and dogs include scratching, redness, discharge, odor, excessive ear wax, and crusts or scabs.

Common Allergy and Skin Irritants:

  1. Grass and Tree Pollen: Our pets can suffer from seasonal allergies due to grass and tree pollen, which is exacerbated by our region's heat and humidity. In Louisiana, tree pollen is significant in the spring, originating from elm, oak, popular, cypress, maple and pine. We can provide assistance to alleviate these symptoms.
  2. Fleas: Despite their size, fleas can cause significant issues. Some pets are allergic to flea bites, leading to conditions like flea allergy dermatitis, especially prevalent in dogs. Itching and scratching can result in open wounds and secondary infections. Additionally, other insects like gnats, ticks, and mosquitoes can cause skin discomfort by biting our pets.
  3. Fungus: Yeast thrives in hot, humid environments, causing yeast infections that affect both the skin and ears. Ringworms, presenting with oval-shaped lesions, is another common fungal infection in pets.
  4. Food: A small percentage of pets can develop food allergies, manifesting primarily as itchy, irritated skin rather than typical digestive symptoms. Common food allergens include beef, lamb, seafood, corn, soy, dairy products (including eggs), and wheat.

Treatment Approach

When addressing dermatology-related cases, Dr. Jeff Marshall will first identify the likely allergen and confirm it through appropriate testing. Once the cause of your pet’s skin condition is pinpointed, Dr. Jeff Marshall will devise a tailored treatment plan for prompt relief.

If your cat or dog is experiencing any skin discomfort, please contact us today for assistance.