It’s been said that April showers bring May flowers. And with those flowers comes one thing – pollen. Unfortunately, humans are not the only ones affected by pollen. Animals, including companion animals such as dogs and cats, suffer from hay fever and allergies just like we do, but with slightly different symptoms.
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 miserable for your pet as they are for you. But, instead of the sneeze-y, snotty symptoms we humans suffer, your pet presents his or her misery in a much different way.
Scratch That Itch!
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 (Is your dog doing the “twist” on his or her back on a rough surface?)
- 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 infection and may culminate into greater health risks for your pet if left unchecked. The cone of shame is nothing when compared to the complications that can arise from hot spots.
Scratching the Surface
If you notice your cat or dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, don’t just tuck a Benadryl into some cheese 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. Diagnosis of allergens can range from simple blood work to a full scratch panel, and 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 allergy’s gauged, your vet will advise you on the best course of treatment.
If your pet is only presenting allergy symptoms a few months out of the year, a simple oral medication may be all your cat or dog needs to find relief from the relentless cycle of itching and scratching. However, if your pet’s symptoms persist or are more severe, treatments such as injections to build up immunity may be the only answer. Additionally, treatments such as antihistamines, steroids, medicated shampoos, and immunotherapy may be prescribed as well, but should only be done under the advisement of your veterinarian.
If you suspect your cat or dog is suffering from allergies, please give us a call and schedule an appointment. Pet allergies are nothing to sneeze at, and can be just as insufferable for your pet as they are for us.