itchy dogsApril 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.

Known as atopy in dogs and cats, seasonal and environmental allergies brought on by inhaled particles of pollen, mold, and dust can be just as insufferable for your pet as they are for you. But, since your pet is unlikely to have (or present) the same symptoms we humans suffer, you may not recognize your pet’s symptoms for what they are.

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

Typically, allergies in your pet present as skin issues and can include the following:

  • Chronic licking, scratching or chewing in a centralized area (typically the paws, groin, neck or flanks)
  • Extremely itchy back and base of tail
  • Chronic ear problems, which may be most noticeable by other animal’s cleaning your pet’s ears
  • Hair loss or red skin
  • Itchy runny eyes
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, hives or swelling (less common)
  • Hot spots

Hot spots are of particular concern, as they have the ability to lead to skin infection (or worse) and may culminate into greater health risks for your pet if left unchecked. If you notice that your pet has developed this condition, please contact us immediately.

The cone of shame will seem like a walk in the park when compared to the complications hot spots can present to both you and your pet.

Nothing to Sneeze About

If you notice your cat or dog exhibiting any of these symptoms don’t just tuck an antihistamine into your pet’s food and call it good. Allergies can pose a serious health risk to your sweet pet, and a call to your veterinarian is needed to ensure proper treatment.

There are many ways of testing your pet for allergies, ranging from simple blood work to a full scratch panel. Your vet will discuss those options with you, depending on the specifics of your pet’s condition. Once the allergens have been identified and the severity of your pet’s allergies gauged, your vet will then work with you to create the best treatment plan possible.

Sweet Relief

If your pet’s allergy symptoms are only presenting a few months out of the year, a simple oral medication may be all he or she needs to find relief from the relentless suffering of seasonal allergies. However, if your pet’s symptoms persist, or are more severe, treatments such as histamine injections to build up immunity may be the only answer for long-term relief.

Additionally, treatments such as over-the-counter antihistamines, steroids, medicated shampoos, or immunotherapy may be prescribed as well, but should only be administered under the supervision of your veterinarian.

If you suspect your cat or dog is suffering from allergies, or has any of the symptoms listed above, please give us a call and schedule an appointment.