Apr 9, 2024 - News

Allergy season hits Florida dogs especially hard

Illustration of a tissue box with the opening in the shape of a dog bone

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More pets in Florida, particularly dogs, are being treated for itchy skin and allergies.

Why it matters: Seasonal allergies can be uncomfortable for furry friends, and they can lead to secondary issues, including skin infections.

By the numbers: Pet insurance company Trupanion reports a 73% increase in allergy claims for insured pets in Florida in 2023 compared to 2019, with the data growth adjusted and measured on a per 1,000 pet basis.

  • Nationwide, allergy claims were up 45%.

Big picture: Insurer Nationwide says allergies top the list of health conditions that prompt vet visits.

  • Dog allergy drugs Apoquel and Cytopoint have treated more than 20 million dogs in total since they were released in 2013 and 2018, respectively, according to parent company Zoetis.
  • Anti-itch prescriptions are available to treat dogs with allergies.

What they're saying: It's hard to say whether allergies are indeed more prevalent or whether we're just "better at finding it and our pet owners better at seeking treatment," says American Veterinary Medical Association president Rena Carlson.

Between the lines: Skin problems in pets are "absolutely the No. 1 issue we see with allergies," Carlson tells Axios.

  • Allergies can also show up in the ear canal, which "is actually just an extension of the skin," she says.
  • And with environmental allergies, the itchiness can appear seasonally.
  • Other major reasons a pet could be itching: a parasite-related skin problem or a food allergy.

💭 Martin's thought bubble: Something must be in the air because my 13-year-old chihuahua Ollie started getting monthly Cytopoint injections a few years ago due to skin allergies.

  • If he doesn't get them, he itches all over and turns red.

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