Can my pet’s allergies be cured?
Unfortunately, allergies can be a life-long problem. If the underlying allergy can be identified and removed from the pet’s environment (as in the case of some food allergies), the pet may no longer have bothersome symptoms. If that is not possible, we will discuss therapeutic options to control the symptoms.
Why didn’t my veterinarian find the problem?
Your veterinarian has worked very hard to try to identify the problem, and referring your pet to a specialist is the next step in that process. Dr. Kuhl is board certified in veterinary dermatology, which means she has completed a residency (additional specialized training), done research and published articles, and passed a rigorous exam, to become a member of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology.
What is Cushing’s disease?
Hyperadrenocorticism, also called Cushing’s disease, is caused by overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Symptoms range from recurrent infections and decreased muscle mass, to frequent urinations and excessive water intake. Laboratory tests are needed to confirm the disease, but medical or surgical treatment options are available, depending on the type of hyperadrenocorticism present.
Can my pet be allergic to his food?
Absolutely. Pets may develop an allergy to almost any component of their diet, no matter how high-quality the ingredient. It’s more common to have allergies to the protein component, but some animals have allergies to the carbohydrates as well. If this is a concern, we will discuss the appropriate approach to diagnose and deal with this type of issue.
Why does the infection keep coming back?
There may be a predisposing cause for the recurrent infections. Until that cause is diagnosed and addressed, it’s likely that the infection will return. Possible underlying causes may include allergies, endocrine imbalance, autoimmune disease and/or ectoparasites.
My vet said my dog may have atopy – what is that?
Atopy is a multi-symptom skin disorder, in which the pet’s immune system overreacts to items that are normally present in the environment. Common allergens include dust, dust mites, pollens [weeds, trees, grasses], molds, feathers and/or wool. This can be present in any breed of dog or cat. Diagnosis is based on history, distribution of lesions, response to treatment and ruling out other diseases. Allergy tests (blood or intradermal) are used to identify specific antigens, so that antigen-specific immunotherapy (allergy shots) can be prepared to hyposensitize the pet. Medications are also available to treat this process and will be discussed at the visit.
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