Just like people, dogs can experience a number of different allergies, including mold. Here, our La Mesa vets discuss the symptoms of mold allergies, how they can be diagnosed, and how immunotherapy can help treat your dog.

What is mold, and what happens when a dog has an allergy to it?

Mold produces spores that can cause allergic reactions in humans and animals. It can be found indoors and outdoors and rapidly multiplies 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 it 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 three, though allergies can develop in dogs of any age. Numerous breeds are 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.

Dog Mold Allergy: Symptoms

Some of the most commonly seen symptoms of mold allergies in dogs include:

  • Frequent scratching, licking, and/or biting themselves
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Labored breathing (your dog’s chest may seem to heave with each breath)
  • Watery eyes
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

How are mold allergies diagnosed in dogs?

A blood test is frequently used to help diagnose mold allergies in dogs. Your vet will run the blood sample using equipment in the on-site lab to look for antibodies to the mold allergen. Dogs with inhalant allergies may be sensitive to multiple particles, including dust, mites, and pollen. This can necessitate a visit to a veterinary dermatologist.

During a standard visit, a veterinary dermatologist will review 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, including a close examination of the ears and skin all over the body. Blood tests, urinalysis, and skin scrapings can also be performed to rule out other possible causes of a skin problem.

What are the treatment options for mold allergies?

Your dog may be prescribed medications to assist in managing the symptoms of the mold allergy. Your dog may also require ear drops if he has an ear infection and 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, as well as your dog's size, age, and health, your veterinarian may also advise you not to take him home until the mold has been removed. Your dog will not get better as long as mold is present in the home.

Immunotherapy for Mold Allergies in Dogs

With immunotherapy, your dog will receive pet vaccinations from a vet or specialist in La Mesa. These shots are given multiple times weekly to help build up your dog's immunity to the allergen.

How can immunotherapy help dogs with mold allergies?

Allergen Immunotherapy is the process of desensitizing your pet to the source of their allergy so that they can better cope with exposure. This is done by gradually introducing them to trace amounts of their allergen to build a tolerance and immunity to mold. Some common allergies treated with allergen immunotherapy include tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, house dust mites, molds, feathers and human dander.

Immunotherapy also helps decrease the need for long-term medications and decreases the development of skin and ear infections, improving long-term patient quality of life.

If you are curious about the benefits of dog vaccinations for allergen desensitization, contact your vet in La Mesa. They can accurately diagnose what ails your dog and make a treatment plan to help improve its quality of life. This may include a referral to a veterinary dermatologist or allergist for more complex cases.

How can you help manage your dog's mold allergy?

Mold allergy treatment and recovery go hand in hand. By sticking to the treatment plan prescribed by your vet, you can help your dog feel better sooner. Some work you can do on your behalf can include using a dehumidifier to prevent mold, cleaning mold-producing rooms, using cleaning products that remove mold and spores, and regularly checking air conditioning ducts.

Dogs should wear washable booties and a sweater outside and wipe down their fur and feet when returning home. If you have any questions, the veterinarian can help. Your vet will likely request follow-up visits to check on your dog's skin and symptoms to ensure a successful recovery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog reacting to mold or any other substance? Contact our La Mesa vets today to schedule an examination for your furry friend.