Spring is near! Is your pet showing signs of allergies?

Spring is fast approaching, if not already here. 

This is exciting for most of us as we anticipate warmer weather, birds singing, flowers blooming….but, it may not be such a happy time for your pet.  Many pet owners will observe their fur babies itching, licking, and biting their skin – sometimes creating angry sores or worse. 

Pet allergies are one of the most frequent reasons for a trip to our hospital during this time of year.

What causes the itching?

Most likely, if your pet is itching and irritated, it is due to Atopy, the most common form of allergy in dogs and cats. 

AND….most of the time plant pollen is to blame for triggering Atopy, which is why we see a lot of animals suffering now.

There are different pollens for different seasons. 

Sometime before April, trees begin to release their pollen in Southern Ohio. Then, when summer rolls around, we see grass pollen and in the fall weed pollen takes over.  This is important to know, because the time of year can definitely help Dr. Hughes determine what type of allergen is affecting your pet.

What to look for?

If you notice excessive itching, hair loss, biting, sores, and sometimes even ear infections, your pet may be experiencing the misery of Atopic Dermatitis.  You may notice them rubbing their ears, face, or abdomen against carpet or furniture or their paws.

Their skin may become reddened and infected and develop sores from the constant irritation.  They can also have watery eyes and even develop an odor. 

What to do?

  • Dr. Hughes suggests treating the symptoms as early as possible to avoid costs and misery for your animal, especially if you know your pet is prone to allergies.

  • Sometimes using antihistamines such as Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can help with the symptoms, but the proper dosage can be tricky, and should be determined by a Veterinarian.

  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids work very well for treatment of allergies and are beneficial to your pet’s skin, coat and nails.

  •  Steroids are usually a “quick-fix” method, but can be harmful and cause long-term side effects.

Relax and be ahead of the season!!  It is much easier to begin treating your pets at the initial onset of atopy.  The seasonal pollens penetrate the skin and unfortunately there isn’t a medication that can block all of it, but treating the allergy early can alleviate some of the symptoms and provide your pet some relief and enjoy the beautiful springtime weather, too!

Keep in mind that many of the medications will take a few weeks to begin working, so you may not see immediate results.  This is another good reason to start treating your pets early if they have allergies.