Sometimes taking care of a pet with skin and ear infections feels like a merry-go-round -- but way, way less fun. You see the scratching, feel the crusty skin, or smell the stinky ears, and so you go to the vet. Then you give antibiotics for two weeks and the issue goes away. Great! Glad that’s done.
But a month later, or a year down the line, it’s the same thing all over again. This frustrating cycle is all too common, but the good news is, if you also treat the underlying cause, you can bring this awful merry-go-round to a stop.
Allergies Cause Infections
Allergies cause infections. Allergies cause infections. ALLERGIES CAUSE INFECTIONS! This should be announced with a red flashing light in every exam room, because it’s such a common issue.
Most of the time, underlying environmental or food allergies cause inflammation in the skin, which then allows bacteria and yeast to grow out of control, leading to full-blown skin or ear infections. Treating skin or ear infections with antibiotics will help symptoms, but to stop infections happening, allergies must be controlled too.
Food and Environmental Allergies
Dogs and cats can have food allergies, environmental allergies, or both. These can develop over time, or can be present from a young age.
When dogs and cats have food allergies, they are usually allergic to a protein in their food, such as beef, chicken, or fish. The only way to determine if they have a food allergy is to strictly feed a completely new protein, such as rabbit or venison. (We want to choose a protein they have never eaten before.)
90% of over-the-counter diets have small amounts of unlisted protein sources due to contamination from other diets made in the same place. For example, you think you are buying a food with just lamb, but instead there is also chicken and beef in the food, but it doesn’t say so on the bag. Because of this, a prescription diet should be fed to your pet when trying to figure out if food is the issue. Prescription diets are produced under tight control so that no other proteins contaminate the food.
Environmental allergies can range from grass, pollen, dust, and even human dander. (Yes, your dog could be allergic to you!) These types of allergies can be treated with a wide variety of medications, which can include oral medications, injections, ointments, and shampoos.
Grass allergies? No problem. I’ve got a good vet!
Get Off The Merry-Go-Round
If you are tired of treating skin and ear infections again and again, realize that allergies are usually the underlying cause of these issues. Fortunately, treating the allergies can bring this frustrating cycle to a stop.
When dealing with skin and ear issues, it is important that you follow treatment recommendations closely and always visit your vet for rechecks. Even though your pet might seem better quickly, a long-term plan must be developed, as allergies typically require life-long dietary changes or medications.