Mold allergies in dogs are common and can make your dog miserable. Because dogs are smaller than humans, they are more likely to inhale mold if there is any in the home. This increases a dog's chance of developing mold-related allergies. Today, our Orange Park vets share tips on how you can prevent mold allergies in dogs and how mold allergies are treated should your dog succumb to them.
What are mold allergies?
Mold produces spores that can cause allergic reactions in humans and animals. It can be found both indoors and outdoors, and it multiplies rapidly in damp, humid environments like basements. Mold also grows seasonally in piles of wet leaves and decaying plant material, and homeowners must work to keep mold from spreading in places like the shower and window ledges.
Itchy skin is usually the first sign of irritation in dogs who inhale mold spores. Inhalant allergies typically manifest themselves in dogs under the age of three, though allergies can develop in dogs of any age. There are numerous breeds thought to be sensitive to non-food allergens like pollen and grasses. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of an allergy, schedule a veterinary visit to determine the cause and provide relief.
Mold is the most common inhalant allergen in dogs, but other airborne allergens such as pollen and dust mites can also cause problems.
What are the symptoms of a mold allergy?
The signs and symptoms of dog mold allergies differ from those of humans. They include:
- Frequent scratching, licking, and/or biting themselves
- Labored breathing (your dog’s chest may seem to heave with each breath)
- Watery eyes
- Frequent ear infections
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any changes in your dog's behavior, appetite, or energy level, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
As mentioned above, some breeds are believed to be predisposed to mold allergies. These include:
- Golden Retrievers
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Lhasa Apsos
- Shih Tzus
- Irish Setters
- German Shepherds
- Terriers (West Highland, Boston, Skye, and Scottish)
How are mold allergies diagnosed?
Dogs with inhalant allergies may be sensitive to multiple particles, including dust, mites, and pollen. This can necessitate a visit to a veterinary dermatologist.
The veterinary dermatologist will go over the dog's medical history, recent illnesses, prior incidents of skin irritation, recent travel history, current diet, and whether medication is required. They will also perform a physical exam, which will include a close examination of the ears and skin all over the body. Blood tests, urinalysis, and skin scrapings can be performed as well to rule out other possible causes of a skin problem.
Your veterinary dermatologist may also order a skin biopsy, skin cytology, ear and skin cultures, and additional skin scraping. Intradermal skin testing may also be recommended.
How are mold allergies treated?
Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to treat your dog's symptoms and to make breathing. Your dog may also require ear drops if he has an ear infection, as well as antibiotics if he has infected skin sores.
Your veterinarian may advise you to have the mold removed from your home as soon as possible to help treat your dog's symptoms and any infections. Depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, and your dog's size, age, and health, your veterinarian may also advise you not to take him home until the mold has been removed. The symptoms may not improve and may even worsen if you take your dog home with mold still in the house.
How do dogs recover from mold allergies?
Mold allergy treatment and recovery go hand in hand. Adherence to veterinarian-prescribed therapies will benefit a dog with allergies. Some work on your behalf can include using a dehumidifier to prevent mold, cleaning mold-producing rooms, using cleaning products that remove mold and spores, and having air conditioning ducts checked regularly.
Dogs should also wear washable booties and a sweater when going outside, and their fur and feet should be wiped down when entering the house. If you have any questions, the veterinarian can help. They will likely want to re-check your pet's skin as well to make sure recovery is progressing smoothly.