Allergy Season - How Do We Help Our Pets?

Spring as wonderful as it is can be a time of year when allergies come alive! We forget or maybe just don't realize that our pets can also suffer from environmental allergens i.e. pollens, grasses,trees,molds etc. In veterinary medicine, when we diagnose an animal with seasonal allergies it is called atopy.

Clinical signs of atopy include biting,chewing,licking (especially feet and forelegs),scratching,sneezing,ocular redness and discharge and generalized pruitis (itchiness). Unfortunately,there is no easy "fix" for allergies, they will always be around. It really becomes a question of how do we keep our animal friends comfortable  so they are not miserable. Probably sounds familiar if you happen to suffer from allergies!

Treatments will vary from case to case but most oral medications dispensed involve antihistamines,antibiotics ( if secondary skin infection), ketoconazole (for  yeast),  plus/minus steroids. I will try an antihistamine for 2 weeks, if the owner reports no improvement, I will move on to the next one. Steroids are used depending on severity of case. Secondary yeast and bacteria are also treated  with medicated shampoos.  I strongly encourage owners to start their pet on a year round fatty acid supplement. 


Other options include allergy testing,herbal remedies,homeopathy and  acupuncture.

Once your animal is feeling better I advise weekly bathing with a mild shampoo (not so much for cats!!!). This is helpful to remove the pollens that sit on the fur. If ears were involved I also suggest ear cleaning every 10 12 days. Try and make it a routine . Not only does this help to keep your pets symtoms in check but it helps us as owners stay one step ahead of a severe allergic attack.

Hope this helps. Happy Spring 2014......may it get warmer soon!