To relieve your pet’s itching you need to treat the underlying cause of the pruritus. The first step, then, is to get an accurate diagnosis. Your veterinarian will need to conduct a full physical examination that includes doing a skin scraping and combing to check for parasitic insects. Your veterinarian may also request a detailed record of when your pet’s symptoms seem to flare up.
Identifying a cause for pruritus can be difficult, and it may take time to find the right treatment for your cat or dog. You should also be prepared for the fact that there are no cures for some conditions. Yet, you should be able to manage symptoms and ease your pet’s discomfort.
An allergy is one of those conditions that you cannot cure. While some veterinarians may try to limit reactions to the allergen by using immunotherapy, it is most often recommended that you try to avoid ever having your pet come in contact with whatever is provoking the allergic reaction. For example, if you are able to determine that your cat is allergic to wheat, never serve your pet foods that contain wheat.
In cases where you’re a cat or dog has been exposed to the allergen and is having a reaction, you can alleviate some of the discomfort. The most effective treatment for allergies is cortisone. Medications such as Apoquel for dogs uses glucocorticoids to quickly provide relief from irritation caused by allergies. It might be administered as a pill, injectable, spray, liquid, or cream. While this medication will relieve itching due to allergies, it can make other conditions that cause pruritus worse, so you need to be sure you have a reliable diagnoses and never use cortisone on your pet just because you suspect an irritated patch of skin was the result of an allergic reaction.
Other treatments that your veterinarian may recommend for an allergy include:
Treating Flea Infestations
Fleas are the most common cause of itching for dogs and cats. In most cases, the pets have only mild discomfort, but if your pet is allergic to the saliva in fleas, pruritus can be severe. There are, thankfully, many products that can help you keep fleas off of your pet. However, you also need to get rid of the fleas in your pet’s environment to ensure the parasites don’t return.
Treating Other Parasites
Most other insect infestations require you to treat your pet with insecticide. The type of insecticide and the frequency and duration of treatments will depend on the type of parasite that has made its home on your pet. For mite infestations, the drug ivermectin (Iverhart and Heartguard) is often used.
Keep in mind that insecticides are poisons. Follow instructions carefully and watch your pet for any signs of a reaction such as foaming, twitching mouth, or convulsions. If those signs appear, bathe your pet to remove any remaining insecticide and call your veterinarian.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.