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Allergy Testing & Dermatology for Pets

Allergy Testing for Your Pets

Allergic reactions in pets can range from "mild nuisance" to "critical health issue", so testing your pet for allergies is a regular practice and service offered at Bemidji Veterinary Hospital.

Allergy Testing Pet Dermatology Parasite Prevention

We have a panel of tests we use to determine if your pet has an intolerance to the following allergens:

  • Food ingredients
  • Airborne pollens and spores
  • Community-specific irritants
  • Parasites
  • Other specific known allergens

For household pets, the most common intolerances are food allergies. Here are some things to look for if your pet demonstrates allergic symptoms:

  • Licking of paws
  • Rubbing of face and eyes
  • Intense itching (pruritis) and scratching
  • Rashes
  • Hyperpigmented skin
  • Thickened and hardened skin (lichenification)
  • Chronic diarrhea

The following allergic reactions are particular to cats:

  • Asthma
  • Acne
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes

For both cats and dogs, vomiting and diarrhea are possible allergic reactions. Although allergic reactions are very treatable, they can be very serious. If allergic conditions lead to bacterial or fungal infections, this could lead to a serious medical situation for your pet. It’s always a good idea to contact or visit us for an appointment if you suspect your pet is having an allergic reaction.

Cat scratching

Treatment and Prevention

Dermatology issues and parasite infestations are two examples of what Bemidji Veterinary Hospital doctors and staff are prepared to treat or prevent for your pet when it comes to mitigating their allergies.

We can also administer allergy injections formulated specifically for your pet as well as place him or her on a specialty diet. If we do not regularly carry the specialty pet food your animal needs, we can order it or locate it for you.

Pet Dermatology: Prevention and Treatment

The Bemidji, Minnesota area, has a high prevalence of pollens and ragweed. This means your pet may have recurrent skin issues over the course of a lifetime. Bemidji Veterinary Hospital treats the full range of dermatology issues your pet may face, such as:

  • Infections
  • Flea and tick allergies
  • Mange
  • Fungal issues

Our veterinary hospital has the experience, the methods, and the products to bring your pet’s skin back to optimal health and keep it that way. Dermatological services for your pet include steroid injections, medicated dips, allergy testing, in-house fungal cultures, and specialty shampoos.


We treat the problem, but you can help prevent the problem. Here is a helpful list of ways to keep your home and your pet’s environment allergen-free:

  • Use lemon juice and water to clean windows and mirrors rather than ammonia-based products.
  • You do not need antifungal disinfectants containing chemicals to clean your countertops and other surfaces. Baking soda, salt, a little water, and a sponge can also do the trick.
  • Avoid heavy-duty oven cleaners from a spray can. Baking soda and water made into a paste can be used to coat your oven. Let it sit overnight and wipe it up the next day.
  • Two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice is a good furniture polish. Plus, it’s non-toxic to household pets.
  • Equal parts of vinegar, salt, and flour make an effective metal polish. It’s a safe alternative to ammonia and acid.

Please let us know if you would like dermatological testing or treatment for your pet. It’s better to diagnose now than keep guessing later.

Treatment & Prevention of Parasites

Flea and tick infestations are a common problem in the life of a dog or cat, but that doesn’t mean they have to be chronic or trigger a more serious complication.

Bemidji Veterinary Hospital is experienced in and equipped for the typical parasite infestations seen in the northern Minnesota area. We provide the topical Vectra 3D®, Bravecto® & Credelio® oral chewables, and Seresto collar for flea and tick prevention. When it comes to the prevention of heartworm spread through mosquito bites, Interceptor Plus is our product of choice.

The most problematic parasites in the Bemidji area are ticks. Though wood ticks and deer ticks are our most common species, others are migrating north.

Ticks can spread the following diseases:

  • Lyme disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Babesiosis
  • Tick paralysis

Both species of tick are known to feed on the blood of animals such as raccoons, deer, mice, dogs, and cats. However, they will also feed on human hosts. It is commonly believed that only pets that live in rural areas are exposed to ticks, but this is false. We regularly see ticks on, and diagnose diseases in, pets that live in urban areas and spend most of their time indoors.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers the following tips for removing ticks:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Contact us if you have nutrition questions or special food ordering needs. And it’s always a good idea to set up an appointment for a regular physical exam.