Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats and Dogs

Article Featured on Vetstreet.com

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: There are more than 2,000 species of fleas. But the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the one most often responsible for the misery of cats and dogs. And for some pets, fleas are not only an annoyance, they are also a source of an allergic reaction called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). A pet that is allergic to flea saliva might scratch and chew at flea bites, and eventually suffer skin inflammation, hair loss, and sores. In addition to attending whatever sores or infections have resulted from the bites, treatment involves removing fleas from the pet and the pet’s environment — and keeping them off the pet and out of the pet’s living and play spaces.

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Atopy - An Allergic Skin Reaction

Article Featured on Vetstreet.com

You want your pet to look good and feel good. But if he’s suffering from atopy — an allergic skin reaction – neither is the case. The itching can make your dog or cat miserable, and redness, rashes, bleeding, and skin infections are worse. They can be caused by environmental allergies, which typically can be treated with a range of things, from removing known allergens from the environment to antihistamines and supplements to immunotherapy or immunosuppression, depending on the allergic reaction and the pet.

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Allergies & Your Pets: What you Need to Know

Written by Tori Holmes | Article Featured on FreshPet.com

Humans aren’t the only creatures who suffer from allergies – your pets can suffer from them as well. Our resident veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, shares everything you should know about environmental, food, and contact allergies in pets.

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Allergies & Your Pets: What you Need to Know
Written by Tori Holmes | Article Featured on FreshPet.com
Humans aren’t the only creatures who suffer from allergies – your pets can suffer from them as well. Our resident veterinarian, Dr. Katy Nelson, shares everything you should know about environmental, food, and contact allergies in pets.
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Article Source from PetMD

Common Ear Problems in Cats

Cats have only a few ways to show us that their ears are bothering them. The most common symptoms of ear problems – scratching and head shaking – can be caused by many different diseases, all of which are treated differently. But take heart. There are a few “tricks of the trade” that will help you differentiate between the most common ear problems in cats and give you the information you need to get your cat on the road to recovery. Read on to learn more.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are tiny parasites that like to live in and around cat ears. They are easily passed between cats and are most commonly diagnosed in kittens. Ear mites make cats shake their heads and scratch themselves around the ears, head and neck. To determine if your cat has ear mites, check your cat’s ears for material that looks like coffee grounds. Gently take out a chunk and put it on a dark background. Live mites look like white, moving specks about the size of a pin head (use a magnifying glass if you have one). A veterinarian will confirm your diagnosis by looking at a sample of debris under a microscope.
Over-the-counter cat ear mite treatments are available and work if you closely follow the directions, but your veterinarian can more thoroughly flush out your cat’s ears and prescribe medications that will eliminate your cat’s ear mites with just one application. To eradicate ear mites from your home, make sure that all pets receive treatment.

Infections of the Outer Ear

Bacterial and fungal (yeast) infections of the outer ear often look quite similar to ear mite infestations. The symptoms – scratching and head shaking – are essentially the same, but if you look closely at the ears, you may notice some differences. Ear infections often cause a cat’s ears to become more red and swollen than do mite infestations, and the discharge from an infected ear tends to have a distinctly foul odor.
To appropriately treat an ear infection, a veterinarian first has to microscopically examine a sample taken from the ears to determine whether yeast or bacteria (and what type of bacteria) are to blame. The doctor will then thoroughly clean out your cat’s ears, take a look inside to determine how much damage has been done, and then prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include  ear cleaners, topical medications, oral anti-infectives, pain relief and anti-inflammatories based on the specifics of your cat’s case.

Middle and Inner Ear Infections

Sometimes the middle and inner parts of a cat’s ear become infected, either because an outer ear infection has moved deeper into the ear or because bacteria has spread through the bloodstream or Eustachian tube (a tube that connects the middle ear and the back of the nose).
Symptoms of middle and inner ear infections vary depending on exactly what part of the ear is involved and whether one or both ears are affected, but owners may notice head shaking, rubbing at the ears, a head tilt, decreased appetite, lethargy, a drooping on one side of the face, squinting, a raised third eyelid, unequal pupil sizes, abnormal eye movements, difficulty walking or poor hearing.
Veterinarians diagnose middle and inner ear infections using a combination of a cat’s symptoms, a physical exam (including an ear exam) and x-rays, CT scans or MRIs of the affected areas. Treatment may include long term treatment with systemic antibiotics, topical medications and surgery.


Nasopharyngeal polyps are benign growths within a cat’s middle ear or Eustachian tube. They can cause cats to develop middle ear infections (as described in the previous slide) as well as loud breathing and nasal discharge. To diagnose a nasopharyngeal polyp, a veterinarian will anesthetize the cat, thoroughly examine the ears and nasopharynx (the area above the soft palate within the mouth), and take x-rays. Surgery to remove the polyp is usually curative, and as long as the whole polyp is taken out, it should not return.


Some types of mange mites, like Notoedres cati, seem to prefer to live on the skin around the head and ears of cats. Mite infestations can make cats so itchy that they scratch to the point of self-mutilation. The skin in affected areas can also become thickened, scaly and covered with crusts. Cats may also become systemically ill and even die in severe cases. To plan appropriate treatment, a veterinarian must examine skin scrapings under a microscope to identify the type of mite that is present. Then the doctor can prescribe the right medication to kill the parasites.

Foreign Bodies

Cats, particularly those who go outdoors, sometimes get grass awns and other foreign bodies lodged in their ears. Cats with foreign bodies in their ears will usually shake their heads and paw at their ears.
If you look in your cat’s ear and can easily see a large piece of grass or something else that shouldn’t be there sticking out, you can try to gently pull it out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. However, if you feel any resistance as you pull or your cat is uncomfortable, stop and call your veterinarian immediately. The doctor can sedate your cat, safely remove the foreign body, examine the ear for damage and prescribe any necessary treatment to promote healing.

Bites and Scratches

Cats who go outside or live in a multi-cat household are also at higher than average risk for trauma to their ears. Bites and scratches are often directed towards this area and can result in lacerations, punctures and other types of wounds that can subsequently become infected.
You can help minor abrasions and cuts heal by cleaning the area with a dilute povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine antiseptic solution a few times a day, but deeper wounds or those that fail to improve with home treatment should always be evaluated by a veterinarian.


Cats with allergies, particularly food allergies, often develop itchiness that is focused around the head and ears. If your cat is scratching in this area and no obvious cause can be identified, an allergic reaction may be to blame. Switching to a limited antigen diet for six to eight weeks (and feeding absolutely nothing else other than water) might help you determine if your cat has a food allergy, but keep in mind that the best “hypoallergenic” cat foods are only available through veterinarians.
Of course, cats can develop other problems that affect their ears, including inflammatory disorders, immune-mediated conditions, tumors and more. If you have concerns about the health of your cat’s ears (or any other body part!), make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: [email protected]

specialty vet clinic, portland

Food Allergies vs. Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

Article by Katherine Toldford | Found on PetMD
If you suspect that your dog’s daily roll in the grass is causing allergic reactions, such as excessive paw licking and rigorous belly scratching, you may be surprised to learn that he could actually have a food allergy.
While it’s common for dogs to suffer from seasonal allergies to things like the pollen they come in contact with while playing in the yard, there are several types of dog allergies that can manifest themselves in similar ways, said Dr. Sarah Nold, on-staff veterinarian for Trupanion, a Seattle-based insurance company.
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specialty, vet hospital, beaverton

Skin Disease Due to Food Allergies in Dogs

Article Found on PetMD

Dermatologic Food Reactions in Dogs

Dermatologic food reactions are non-seasonal reactions which occur following ingestion of one or more allergy causing substances in an animal’s food. The physical reaction is frequently excessive itchiness, with resultant excessive scratching at the skin. Read more

specialty, vet clinic, beaverton, oregon

Pet Exposure May Reduce Allergies and Obesity in Children

Article Found on Science Daily

If you need a reason to become a dog lover, how about their ability to help protect kids from allergies and obesity?

A new University of Alberta study showed that babies from families with pets — 70 per cent of which were dogs — showed higher levels of two types of microbes associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.
But don’t rush out to adopt a furry friend just yet. Read more

10 Most Overlooked Aches and Pains in Cats

10 Most Overlooked Aches and Pains in Cats

BY Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD | Article Featured on VetStreet
If you’ve ever awoken to the soft pitter-patter of paws on your face, thrilled to the grace of a glorious sofa-to-loveseat leap or felt the telltale squish of a hairball beneath your bare feet, you’ll know that cats are special. So special, in fact, that they manage to bring their feline singularity to their expression of discomfort, too.
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Allergy Shot

Which is Better: Allergy Shots or Allergy Drops for Pets?

Article Featured on PetMD
Which would you prefer?

  1. Giving your dog or cat an injection under the skin every few weeks (or going to the clinic to have it done for you)
  2. Giving a few pumps of liquid into the mouth twice a day

That’s the question that you have ask yourself when you’re deciding between the two forms of allergy immunotherapy that are now available for pets.
Allergy shots have been around for decades. They work by essentially desensitizing the immune system to its allergic triggers. Initially, a weak concentration of the pet’s triggers is given and the solution is gradually strengthened over time. Shots are usually given a couple of times a week at the beginning of treatment but can be spaced out if the pet responds well. It’s not unusual for dogs and cats to get a “booster” every two or three weeks for years, if not indefinitely.
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