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How to Treat Mold Allergies in Dogs

Like people, dogs can experience mold allergies. In this article, our San Diego vets list symptoms of mold allergies in dogs. You'll also learn how mold allergies are diagnosed in canines and how immunotherapy can help treat and manage symptoms of this allergy. 

What are mold allergies?

Mold produces spores that can trigger allergic reactions in both humans and animals. These spores can found indoors and outdoors, and rapidly spread in damp, humid environments like basements.

Mold also grows seasonally in decaying plant material and piles of wet leaves, and homeowners must work diligently to prevent it from multiplying indoors where moisture accumulates. These areas can include window ledges and showers. 

Dogs that inhale mold spores often develop itchy skin. Symptoms of inhalant allergies typically occur in dogs under three years old, although dogs of any age can develop allergies.

Several breeds, including retrievers, bulldogs, German Shepherds, pugs, setters, terriers, and miniature schnauzers, have a genetic tendency towards allergies in general. If your pet is displaying symptoms of an allergy, book a visit with your vet so the underlying cause can be diagnosed and treated. 

Mold is the most common inhalant allergen in dogs. However, other airborne allergens, such as dust mites and pollens, can also cause problems for your dog's health.

Symptoms of Mold Allergies in Dogs 

Your dog's mold allergy may cause a variety of symptoms, including:

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

You'll notice these symptoms differ from signs of mold allergies in humans. If you notice any behavioral changes in your dog, or their energy levels or appetite shift without explanation, see your veterinarian. 

Diagnosing Mold Allergies in Dogs 

Your veterinarian may conduct a blood test to help diagnose your dog's mold allergy, then use the equipment in the onsite lab to analyze the blood sample for antibodies to the mold allergen. Dogs with inhalant allergies may be sensitive to many particles, including pollen, mites, and dust. In this case, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist. 

During an initial visit, a veterinary dermatologist will review your dog's medical history, recent illnesses, prior cases of skin irritation, current diet, and recent travel history. They will also perform a physical exam, during which they'll closely examine the skin, ears, and body. Blood tests, skin scrapings and a urinalysis may be done to rule out other potential causes of a skin problem. Finally, they'll determine if medication is required. 

Treatment Options for Your Dog's Mold Allergies 

Your veterinarians may prescribe medication to treat your dog's mold allergy symptoms and to make it easier for them to breathe. Your dog may also need ear drops if he has an ear infection and antibiotics if sores have developed. 

The vet may recommend having the mold removed from your home as soon as possible to help treat your dog's symptoms and prevent any infections from returning. 

Depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, as well as your pup's age, size, and health, your vet may also advise you not to take him home until the mold has been removed. The symptoms may worsen or fail to improve if you take your dog home with mold remaining in the house. 

Immunotherapy for Mold Allergies in Dogs

With immunotherapy, your dog will receive pet vaccinations from a vet or specialist. These shots are given multiple times weekly to help build up your dog's immunity to the allergen. We go into more detail about this below.

How Immunotherapy Can Help Manage Mold Allergies in Dogs

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 San Diego. They can accurately diagnose what ails your dog and make a treatment plan to help improve its quality of life. For more complex cases, this may include a referral to a veterinary dermatologist or allergist.

Managing Mold Allergies Through Recovery

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, 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 entering the house. If you have any questions, the veterinarian can help. They will likely want to re-check your pet's skin to ensure recovery is progressing smoothly.

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 displaying signs of model allergy, or sensitivities to other substances? Contact our San Diego animal hospital today. We can assess your pup for symptoms, diagnose the problem and provide treatment.

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