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Indoor, outdoor, and food allergies in your pets: How to spot them and what to do.

Allergy is the sixth leading chronic illness in the USA among people and in more than 20% of pets. Today, allergy in the pet population is a very serious disorder with increasing numbers of cases worldwide.

The two major groups of allergens that cause the disease are Indoor and Outdoor. Outdoor allergens include pollens of trees, grasses, weeds, molds, and insects. This type of allergy, so-called “Outdoor”, is typically seasonal and depends on seasonal flowering, humidity, geographical location, and weather. The symptoms of an outdoor allergy may include skin rash and irritation, swelling, itchy runny eyes, itchy ears, sneezing, and coughing. If your pets have outdoor allergies, you must limit the time they spend outdoors. You also need to consult with a veterinarian who can order a test for the detection of specific offending allergens. Then, you can get immunotherapy for your pet that will be formulated based on their specific test results.

The “Indoor” allergy is a more severe problem. Pets can suffer from Indoor allergies at any time of year and symptoms may never go away due to continuous exposure to indoor allergens. The most common indoor allergens are dust mites, mold, mildew, cleaning chemicals, cigarette smoke, perfumes, wool, cotton, and other materials that your pet can be in contact with. Sensitivity to indoor allergens is quite common in pets and occurs at any age. The most frequent symptom of Indoor allergy in pets is itchy, irritated skin. A skin reaction to inhaled allergens in pets is known as atopic dermatitis or atopy. Living with atopic dermatitis is very frustrating for pets and pet owners. About 75% of all pet visits to their veterinarian are for various dermatologic problems that are secondary to allergies. Frequently, secondary infections of the skin and ears are an even bigger problem for allergic pets. The final type of allergy is a food allergy. Pets deal with continuous problems related to feeding on a daily basis. Most food allergens cause skin problems but might also cause diarrhea, other gastrointestinal issues, and lack of appetite. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the different types of allergies look alike. There is so much crossover between outdoor, indoor, and food allergy symptoms. Therefore, you must pay more attention to where these symptoms manifest most of the time. When symptoms show, remember, or take note of where, when, and what was going on. If the symptoms of the allergy do not improve with the removal of an allergen and even worsen, visit your veterinarian. Your observations and notes will help the veterinarian to order the correct allergy tests related to a specific type of allergy (outdoor, indoor, or food). Based on test results your pet can get the correct immunotherapy or avoid harmful food ingredients through a suggested elimination diet from your veterinarian.

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