On August 16, 2023

August is itchy pet awareness month


Dear Editor, 

August is Itchy Pet Awareness Month. Itching is a very common problem in pets and  can drastically affect their quality of life. Itchy pets are one of the top reasons that people  seek medical care for their beloved furry family member.  

There are a myriad of reasons that a pet can be itchy—both acute and chronic  reasons—and it can be very irritating and painful for that pet. 

Fortunately, your  veterinarian can help identify what the reason is and come up with a treatment plan to  address the itchiness and discomfort.  

Common signs of itchy pets include irritated or red skin, malodor to the skin or in ears,  and dryness of the coat. Sometimes you may notice moist dermatitis under the neck or  under the arms—you may have heard these referred to as hot spots.  

The most common causes of itchiness are seasonal allergies, food allergies, and skin  infection. 

There are many different treatments for itchy pets available.  The first line of defense usually starts with topical treatments, such as medicated  sprays, mousses, and shampoos. However, typically itchy pets need more to help  suppress the itch and there are multiple medications that help by suppressing the itch— these include both pills and injections. If there is a reason to suspect food allergies,  you typically will start your pet on a diet trial and use a novel protein or hydrolyzed  protein diet to see if the protein causing the allergy can be identified. 

Sometimes allergy testing may be recommended. Depending upon what type of testing  is pursued this may be done by your regular vet or you may be referred to a  dermatologist.  

If your pet is itching, reach out to your veterinarian for help and guidance on how best to  treat them. There are many treatment options available, and your veterinarian should be  able to find the right one for your furry friend. 

Erin Forbes, VVMA Communications Committee chair

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