The most common allergy seen in Florida pets is to flea saliva.  While some pets will scratch simply because the fleas are crawling all over their skin, most are scratching due to the saliva the flea has injected into your pet's skin when it took it's blood meal.  This is a delayed reaction, meaning that the flea is long-gone by the time your pet starts scratching due to the bite.  In the severely allergic pets, just one or two flea bites will cause severe over-all itching and scratching.

Fleas are only part of the problem.  Pets can also be allergic to dust mites, pollens, molds, food, materials it contacts and even to other pets or it's owner.  Owners can perform elimination trials to try to determine exactly what their pet is allergic to in order to aviod or eliminate future contact by the pet.  Replacing plastic food and water bowls with stainless steel is quick and easy.  Food trials ideally should take several months to complete.  Laboratory tests can also be performed to determine what your pet is allergic to and special desensitizing allergy injections can be formulated for your pet's individual needs.

Mild allergies may repond simply to over-the-couinter anti-histamine treatments, but most pets require veterinary treatment and prescription medications to releive their pet's symptoms.  In addition to the scratching and chewing, your pet may also have secondary bacterial, yeast and/or fungal infections as a result of all the scratching and chewing.  These infections will require addition treatment and medications.

Allergies are not the only reason you pet will scratch and chew.  External parasites, such as mites, and even psychological issues, such as stress or excitement, can cause your pet to scratch and chew.  Different conditions require different treatments.  Our staff can offer assistance and advice, but an exam by one of our veterinarians is usually needed to determine the proper cause and treatment for each individual case.   

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