Watch CBS News

Seen At 11: Pets Can Suffer From Allergies Just Like Humans

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For anyone who has suffered through all the discomforts of allergies, you know how horrible it can be.

Now imagine it's your pet who is suffering, and you might not even know it. It's a condition that is easily treatable, if it's properly diagnosed.

Three-year-old Milo is playing like a puppy now, but that wasn't the case until recently, CBS2's Kristine Johnson reported.

"He was always scratching, itching, chewing his paws. His ears were always very itchy," said Milo's owner Melissa Hui.

Hui said she knew Milo was really suffering and the cost of treating him was beginning to add up.

"Definitely more than a thousand," she said. "We kept paying for medicine, then go back again and be prescribed additional drugs."

Eventually, Hui took Milo to Dr. Mark Macina, a vet who specializes in dermatology at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan. And after testing, it turned out Milo was suffering from allergies.

"Some of these cases can be very severe," Dr. Macina said.

Now, the pup gets weekly allergy shots, which usually can be administered at home. But Hui prefers the doctor to give them.

So how do you know if your pet has allergies? Milo's ended up being pretty extensive.

"Grasses, pollen, dander, dust in the home, indoor and also outdoor allergies," Hui said.

Vets test animals for allergies in a manner similar to the way humans are tested.

"By doing interdermal skin testing, determining what the patient is allergic to and then based on that test, actually tailor make the vaccines that will address each of the allergies," explained Dr. Macina.

There are more than 50 substances that can be tested.

"A dog can get allergic to the same things we do; indoor things like dust, dust mites, mold, human dander, other pet dander, certainly insects, wool, other fibers," Dr. Macina said.

"It never occurred to me that dogs can be allergic to things like human beings can," said pet owner Barbara Hoffman.

Hoffman also brought her pet, 7-year-old Coco to see the vet.

"She was chewing her feet, and they were red because she was chewing the fur off," she said.

Coco turned out to be allergic to mold and other substances.

"There's no overnight fix, but with time we can get your pet where you want it to be," said Dr. Macina.

And doctors also suggest a bath once or twice a week for pets who suffer from allergies. It helps keep their skin clear of the substances that make them uncomfortable.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.