Warmer weather and longer days are upon us, meaning that spring is officially here.
However, as well as bringing sunshine, beautiful flowers, and blossoming trees, spring also brings a range of potential allergens into the environment that could end up making your pet very miserable.
Pets Can't Get Season Allergies…. Can They?
Absolutely! Just as we can be affected by spring and summer allergens such as grass, flower or tree pollen so too can our pets. These are known as environmental allergies since they are caused by changes in the environment around us and our furry friends. The most common environmental allergens include pollen from grass, weeds, trees, molds, house dust, and dust mites. It is possible for an animal to be allergic to just one of these or all.
Unfortunately, seasonal allergies don't always restrict themselves to a certain time of the year. There are many instances where a pet is regularly exposed to an environmental allergen and ends up suffering from symptoms for longer until it becomes a year-round problem.
Spotting the Signs of Allergies
Although itching is definitely one of the most common signs of seasonal allergies, there are a number of others that you can look out for. Many owners recognize a combination of the following symptoms in their hypersensitive pets:
- Obvious, persistent scratching
- Constant grooming
- Relentless licking and chewing of the abdomen, front legs, or feet
- Rubbing their body or face along the floor or against furniture
- Chronic ear infections
- A general 'puffy' appearance
- Symptoms similar to a cold: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and coughing
In addition to these symptoms, you may also notice skin problems that have occurred as a result of that aggravating and persistent itch. These include:
- Skin Rashes
- Hair loss
- Open wounds
- Bacterial or yeast infections
If you have a dog, you might also find that he develops something called "hot spots". This condition is characterized by skin that is red, inflamed, sore, and infected. There may also be bleeding and some hair loss. Hot spots occur when your dog's natural bacteria overwhelm an area of his skin.
If your pet is suffering from any of the above, it is important that you seek veterinary advice to obtain a diagnosis and start your pet on the necessary treatment that will alleviate his inevitable discomfort.
Helping Your Pet During Allergy Season
Although there is no cure for any allergy, fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help make this season more bearable for your furry family member. Your Helena veterinary team will be able to recommend which allergy management options are most suitable for your pet, but typically you can expect to need to use a combination of different approaches. These will include:
- Minimizing exposure to the identified allergen wherever possible, for example, keeping your allergic cat indoors when the pollen count is high.
- Controlling the symptoms associated with the allergy through a variety of different treatments including medicated shampoos, ointments, and sprays.
- Increasing the amount that you vacuum indoors to minimize allergen exposure.
- Using an air purifier to remove allergens that are airborne.
- Allergy shots are designed to improve your pet's ability to tolerate contact with specific allergens.
If you would like more information on pet allergies and the best way to help your pet this allergy season, please don't hesitate to contact Helena Veterinary Clinic at (205) 621-2021 in Helena, AL today.