The United States pet owners spend in excess of $18 billion a year on their pets at the veterinarian alone! A trip for an allergy is often more than two thousand dollars for one visit. Some cases report a bill of over five thousand dollars for a single visit based on allergies. So, we ask, what do we do? We’re not going to abandon our beloved pets, but five thousand dollars is simply too much!
That’s not all, the top three issues for your pets health are all often brought on by allergies. The number one health issue being skin conditions, the second being stomach issues, and the third is ear infections. These are just the side effects. Allergies themselves are often rated in the top ten for health issues among pets.
Keeping your pet indoors changes nothing. There are many common environmental allergens among pets including pollen; food and food additives like milk products; dust; rubber, plastic, or certain fabrics; mold spores; fleas and other insects; and dander from cats, dogs, and even humans. That’s right, your pet can even be allergic to you.
There are four different types of allergies for pets:
- Atopy (inhaled)
There are many symptoms that pets show when they have an allergen. For dogs these symptoms are plenty and include self-induced alopecia or hair loss; skin and ear infections especially if they are reoccurring; mutilated skin that creates hot spots or sensitive areas from excessive scratching or chewing; scratching the hind end by scooting or constant licking; scratching other areas by rubbing, licking or chewing; snoring from inflamed throat; or stomach problems like vomiting, diarrhea, or flatulence. In cats the symptoms are similar including scratching; self-induced alopecia; recurring skin infections; mutilated skin that creates hot spots; you may see hives, plaques, pustules, scales, or sores instead of or in addition to hot spots; coughing, sneezing, or wheezing; or stomach problems like vomiting, diarrhea, or flatulence; watery eyes and lethargy have also been reported.
When you take your pet in to the veterinarian for allergies, what they have to do is one or both of two tests. Each of these test’s often costs between $275-350. This is per test and does not include the exam and base costs for the visit. One of these tests is the Serum Allergy Test. They take a blood sample from your pet and perform testing. The other test is the Intradermal Skin Test where the veterinarian will shave a patch of fur on the chest of your pet and then approximately sixty small allergen injections are placed into the skin. A hive will form if the pet is allergic to any of these small injections.
Pet insurance can be the answer. Many of the reported bills per visit drop to only a few hundred dollars in the case of allergies. When it comes to insuring your pet for allergies, it’s important to note pre-existing conditions. This is exactly like it is with humans. Insurance companies don’t like to pay extra when they don’t have to, and neither should you. For this reason, to avoid any future allergies that may form, you may wish to get insurance for your pet early. Where possible you want to get your insurance when your pet is still young and growing into the world. Just like any other form of insurance, it’s best to shop around and compare pricings that fit you and your pets needs.
There are other methods to help with allergies in addition to what your veterinarian can provide, however. To help with the overall health of your pet and reduce any chances of allergens it’s important to provide your pets with Association of American Feed Control Officials branded food. Somewhere near or on the nutrition label for your pet’s food should state AAFCO approved. Hypoallergenic diet can also be applied to great effect. Simply cycle through AAFCO foods until you find one from which your pet doesn’t react negatively. Chin acne is a common food-based allergen that can be prevented easily. Get rid of that plastic food dish and replace it with a metal or ceramic one. Some studies report that food allergens can be curbed by probiotics.
Flea medications can eliminate flea allergies. The cheaper knock off brands rarely work and even more rarely work long enough for the next batch of fleas to be born. Take your flea medications seriously and ask your veterinarian for advice on what’s right for your pet.
If your pet is allergic to pollen, just like humans, keep them indoors during times of high pollen. Regular vacuuming and dusting can help reduce or prevent dust, mite, and dander allergies.
For those skin allergies and hot spots or worse, a cool bath with anti-itch shampoos and gentle cleansing can go a long way.
There may not be any one cure to your pet’s allergies. Sometimes it’s a combination of things. Get insurance, keep trying, and talk to your veterinarian for your loved one’s sake.
Also Read: Why Pet Insurance Is Important?