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Mold Allergy in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Mold allergies in dogs are common and can make them miserable. Because dogs are smaller than humans, they are more likely to inhale mold if there is any in the home, which increases their chance of developing mold-related allergies. Today, our Los Angeles County vets share tips on how you can treat your dog's mold allergies.

What are mold allergies?

Mold is one of the most common inhalant allergens in dogs. It produces spores that can cause allergic reactions in both humans and animals, and it can be found both indoors and outdoors. It multiplies rapidly in damp, humid environments like basements. Mold also grows seasonally in piles of wet leaves and decaying plant material. Homeowners must work to keep mold from spreading in places like the shower and window ledges.

Inhalant allergies typically manifest themselves in dogs under the age of three, though allergies can develop in dogs of any age. If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of an allergy, schedule a veterinary visit to determine the cause and provide relief.

What are the symptoms of a mold allergy?

While itchy skin is usually the first sign of irritation in dogs who inhale mold spores, there are other potential symptoms. They 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?

Dogs with inhalant allergies may be sensitive to multiple things, including dust, mites, and pollen. The veterinarian will go over the dog's medical history, recent illnesses, prior incidents of skin irritation, recent travel history, and current diet to determine if 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 veterinarian may also order a skin biopsy, skin cytology, ear and skin cultures, and additional skin scraping. Intradermal skin testing may also be recommended. This can necessitate a visit to a veterinary dermatologist.

If you notice any changes in your dog's behavior, appetite, or energy level, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Some breeds are believed to be predisposed to mold allergies. These include:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Pugs
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Shih Tzus
  • Irish Setters
  • German Shepherds
  • Terriers (West Highland, Boston, Skye, and Scottish)

How are mold allergies treated?

Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to treat your dog's symptoms and to make breathing easier. Your dog may also require ear drops if he has an ear infection, as well as antibiotics if he has infected skin sores. In less severe cases, your dog will be prescribed antihistamines, similar to what a human would take for an allergic reaction.

If mold in your home is the source, you will be advised to have the mold removed as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, 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.

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.

Do you think your dog might be suffering from mold allergies? Contact our Los Angeles County clinic today to schedule an appointment.

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