By Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, ABC News
Do you suffer from allergies? You might not be alone: Your pet may be suffering, too.
When pets suffer, they are at least as miserable as we are — and maybe more. Instead of the runny noses, itchy eyes, sneezing or wheezing allergies mean to many people, pet allergies typically show up as scratching, chewing, rubbing, head-shaking or diarrhea.
Allergies are common for dogs: According to the pet-health insurance company VPI, the top three medical claims for dogs last year were allergy-related. Cats get off relatively easy on this one, since far fewer cats suffer from allergies than dogs do. In 2009, VPI’s most common canine claims were for infections of the outer ear (4.45 percent), allergic dermatitis (4.22 percent) and pyoderma, commonly known as “hot spots” (2.72 percent). For those cats who are allergic, they can show skin reactions, but also respiratory symptoms, vomiting and other digestive problems.
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