Dog Allergies and Lesion Locations

Image of a dog scratching.

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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Office Hours

If you have an after hours emergency, please contact Purdue Small Animal Emergency Services at 765-496-7911.

Creekside Animal Wellness Center

Monday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Creekside Animal Hospital

Monday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Two convenient locations. The Vets are kind and caring. I have used them for more than 20 years. I trust them to care for my pet. We had our dog spayed and all the normal care. They are great about sending reminders for shots and other things care updates."
    Helen W.
  • "The vets and vet techs at Creekside Animal Hospital are very nice. They do what they can to make your animal feel special given the circumstances. They are transparent with their prices and make things easy by setting up appointments over the phone or in person. I will definitely be back to Creekside Animal Hospital as they truly want to see the best recovery for each animal."
    Patrick R.
  • "The staff at Creekside are AMAZING and honest and full of love!"
    Natalie F.
  • "This was our first time to visit Creekside. Do to the Corona Virus we needed to pull into the parking lot and call to let them know we were there. To my surprise the Doctor came to the car in person. I must say that I had a very good impression of her. I was very satisfied with the service we received there. After she completed the exam she called us to explain the results of the exam and answer any questions we had. At this time I would recommend them highly."
    Robert J.
  • "We have been coming to Creekside for 4 years now. I could not imagine going anywhere else! They have always been very patient with all of our questions & they were all very supportive when our dogs helped themselves to a bag of chocolate. I always know that when I have to leave our furbabies at Creekside for the day that will be well taken care of."
    Cooper, Cohen & Fatboy