Courtesy of: Dr. Melissa
As much as we all love to feel the warmer weather every Spring, those of us with seasonal allergies can dread pollen season. Did you know our pets can be affected as well? Dogs and cats exposed to airborne allergens from grasses/weeds/trees can get inflammation affecting their skin. This inflamed skin gets itchy and is prone to bacterial and yeast infections. If your pet is especially chewing at its feet, shaking its head, or scratching its belly, allergies are a possibility. The skin can look red, raw and moist when it is inflamed and/or infected. There can be a dark discharge in the ears or pustules/scabs on the skin. Pets can also be allergic to parasites like fleas, which are very common in the summer months. Effective flea control is very important in these animals.
The technical term for sensitivity to airborne allergies is Atopy. For the most part atopy is managed, not cured. There are many therapies used to control allergies, including antihistamines, topical shampoos and ointments, anti-inflammatories, supplements to enhance the skin barrier and diet trials. Medications like antibiotics and anti-fungals may be needed to control secondary infections. In chronic cases we can do allergy testing to find out what is making your pet react and use medication to de-sensitize them to those allergens.
If your pet is itchy, make an appointment with your veterinarian. If the problem is recurrent, keep a log of flare-ups. Sometimes these patterns can help us narrow down the causes. We will get a full history and complete a thorough physical exam to help identify what the problem is and make a plan to get your pet more comfortable. Follow up is also very important to keep flare ups under control. Please call us with your questions/concerns at (902)893-2341!
Here are some great resources on Seasonal Allergies: