April showers bring May flowers – and with those flowers comes one thing, pollen. Humans are not the only ones affected by pollen and the seasonal allergies it can cause. Animals, including our beloved dogs and cats, suffer from hay fever and allergies just like we do. And, unfortunately, their suffering is just as miserable as ours. (more…)
Naperville Animal Hospital Blog
Archive for the ‘Allergies’ Category
Ah, the urban legend. A story that you heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that is just plausible enough to be believed. We have all heard them, and we have all fallen for one or two at some point. No one knows exactly where the myth of the “hypoallergenic” dog got started, but it is a highly perpetuated tale. (more…)
Food allergies are one of the top three allergies in dogs and cats. Pets can be allergic to any type of food, but the most common offenders include proteins or carbohydrates such as beef, chicken, fish, corn, wheat, or soy. Minor ingredients such as preservatives or dyes are also potential allergens. Despite common misconception, pets can develop food allergies even if they have “eaten the same food their entire life”. If your pet exhibits any of the following signs, he/she may have a food allergy that should be discussed with your veterinarian.
- Allergy symptoms (usually itching) that persist all year round.
- Chronic ear infections
- Repeated problems with the anal sacs.
- Allergy symptoms starting later in life (after the age of 5)
- Allergy symptoms which are only minimally responsive to steroids.
Food allergies are most often diagnosed by conducting a food trial during which the animal is fed only a hypoallergenic diet. This diet is carried out for 10-14 weeks. If symptoms resolve the pet is challenged with the old diet to see if symptoms return. Most food allergies are manageable simply by avoiding the offending food.
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring him in to see us and we can discuss it.
Ah, the dreaded butt-drag. Every pet owner has experienced it. But what does it mean? Don’t ignore it! If your dog is carpet surfing, there is a reason. Here are the most common causes:
- Anal sacs - All dogs and cat have little sacs right inside the rectum that contain a stinky fluid. Normally this fluid is expressed when your pet has a bowel movement. Sometimes the glands can become clogged or infected, however, resulting in a very irritating pressure that can be painful. You can help avoid this by bringing your pet in for grooming, which can include anal gland expression.
- Parasites – Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms can cause irritation around the rectum, resulting in scooting.
- Allergies - Allergies, in particular food allergies, can cause an itchy behind. Give us a call if you suspect this may be the case for your pet.
- Irritation - Anything irritating such as debris stuck in the hair around the rectum or inflammation secondary to diarrhea can result in your pet dragging or licking at its bottom excessively.
- Fleas - Fleas love to hang out around the back half of the animal, which can sometimes result in scooting. Fleas can also carry tapeworms, another culprit!
So next time you catch your pet dragging its rear end on your white rug, don’t yell at him or her- Make an appointment to get it checked out! Your dog or cat is trying to tell you something!
No, people are not the only lucky species who suffer from allergies. Dogs are not spared from the misery, either. They can be allergic to anything people can be allergic to: foods, pollens, weeds, dust, fleas, and even to cats! Dogs often experience allergies in a different way than people, however. Most commonly an allergy rears its ugly head as a skin issue. If any of the following sound like your pet, a trip to the vet may be in order to discuss allergy management:
- Chronic licking, itching, or chewing, particularly at the paws, groin, neck, or flanks
- Extremely itchy back/base of tail
- Chronic ear problems
- Frequent “hot spots”
- Hair loss or reddened skin
- Itchy or runny eyes
- Less commonly: Vomiting or diarrhea, hives or swelling
Allergies can be difficult to get under control, and sometimes even difficult to diagnose. They are never truly cured, but often can be managed. Your veterinarian will most likely want to perform a series of tests in order to rule out underlying problems. After that they may recommend special foods, shampoos, medications, and testing in order to help your pet stay as comfortable as possible. Every pets allergy issues are unique and every dog responds differently to treatment. While it is impossible to totally get rid of the problem, dogs with allergies often experience a greatly improved quality of life once proper treatment is instituted.