Apr 17, 2024 - News

Springtime allergies are on the rise for dogs in Arizona

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

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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

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

By the numbers: Pet insurance company Trupanion reports a 64% increase in allergy claims for insured pets in Arizona in 2023 compared to 2019, with the data growth adjusted and measured on a per 1,000 pet basis. That's above the national average jump of 45%.

  • 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.

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.

Anti-itch prescriptions are available to treat allergic dogs.

  • Injectable treatments work to block the signal that triggers an itch.
  • And chewable treatments are meant to reduce skin inflammation.

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.

The bottom line: If you suspect your pet has allergies, take them to the vet immediately, Carlson says.

  • Be prepared for questions about your pet's age (younger pups might be more likely to have food allergies), evidence of fleas (which could indicate a parasite), when the itchiness started, and patterns in their environment or food.
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