Pet Allergies and Dust Mites: What you need to know
Nearly one in every three dogs who have allergies strongly react to the presence of house dust mites, one of the most common pet allergens.
Having an itchy pet is always something uncomfortable for both you and your beloved pet. Around 10% of dogs are predisposed to allergic skin diseases. This percentage is lower in cats. However, house mites remain one of the most frequent pet allergens. Detecting pet allergies on time will allow us to help them and prevent suffering. Allergies in pets are typically presented with itchiness. Therefore, this is one of the first symptoms of a dust mite allergy. Itchy pets will lick, chew, and scratch excessively. This, in turn, leads to skin inflammation, which is manifested as thickening and hyperpigmentation.
Pets are usually most itchy on their tummies, armpits, paws, groin, and face. In other words, everywhere except their backs! If you see your pet constantly reaching for these parts of her/his body, you should suspect house dust allergies. You must take your pet to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Pet allergies develop with constant contact with the allergens, which in this case are dust mites. Therefore, your dog can be in contact with them for weeks, until one day, he/she starts to react negatively to them. Treatment can be challenging if other skin conditions are present. Veterinarians often recommend starting with cleansing shampoos and antibiotics. If the pet condition does not improve, the veterinarian would probably prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to ameliorate the pet’s skin condition. House dust allergies can be easily prevented with a regular vacuum cleaning. Furthermore, frequent bathing for the pet will maintain him/her clean and could avoid other skin conditions that could get worse with dust mites. Moreover, you could consider immunotherapy vaccines for your pet, around 30 to 40 percent of them have a great response to this vaccine.
About the author
Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.