Common Shih Tzu Allergies in Vancouver, BC
Dog skin allergies particularly impact Shih Tzus because they have thick, curly coats and immune systems slightly weakened by rigorous genetic breeding. Pet allergies in Shih Tzus may involve seasonal pollens, food allergies, bacterial infections caused by constant biting and scratching at the skin or fleas.
In addition, systemic diseases such as diabetes or kidney/liver disorders can cause hair loss and skin problems in Shih Tzus. In some cases, you may smell an odd odor about your Shih Tzu, accompanied by flaky, excessively oily skin. This could indicate a bacterial skin infection requiring veterinary antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
Dog Skin Allergies and Food Intolerance
Signs of food allergies often resemble seasonal allergy symptoms--severe itching, bald patches, biting at skin and inflamed hot spots. Sometimes, a Shih Tzu may vomit occasionally or have mild diarrhea if they are allergic to a certain food but not always. To diagnose skin disorders, a pet dermatology veterinarian will examine skin lesions, ask about the dog's diet and possibly initiate skin patch tests to determine exactly what kind of food additive is causing the allergy. Common culprits of food pet allergies in Shih Tzus include artificial additives (flavoring, coloring), chemical preservatives and fillers such as corn or soy.
Along with scratching, chewing and biting, Shih Tzu allergies involving pollen or household allergens can make dogs sneeze frequently, suffer coughing spells and have runny noses. To identify what is triggering an allergy, your veterinarian may perform intradermal skin testing or an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) blood test.
Once a diagnosis is made, vets typically prescribe topical steroids to reduce itchiness and antihistamines to help Shih Tzus breathe easier. If your dog is found to be allergic to household dust, you may need to invest in a HEPA vacuum cleaner or air filtration system to help reduce skin and other pet allergies.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Shih Tzus
Signs of a flea allergy include development of "hot spots" (painful, red sores on the skin), constant and vigorous biting and scratching and hair loss. Unless treated, flea allergy dermatitis may produce crusty/oozing sores, swelling and discolored, thick skin, especially at the base of the tail.
Make an Appointment for Allergies in Pets in Vancouver, BC
If your Shih Tzu is exhibiting signs of skin and coat problems, call your Animal Dermatology Specialists of Vancouver today at (604) 558-3376 to schedule an appointment with your pet dermatology veterinarian.