It’s official – spring has finally sprung!! And while the flowering trees and shrubs are beautiful to look at, they bring with them pesky pollen that, anymore, seems to affect us all. For the past 3 weeks the majority of the pets coming to Boulevard Animal Hospital have been barking and meowing about how itchy they are! Allergies, also known as Seasonal Atopy, are wreaking havoc on our noses and our furry friends skin.
So how do you identify if your pet is suffering from spring allergies? We always recommend making sure that there is no other cause, such as fleas, prior to diagnosing atopy, by making sure they are on a veterinary-approved flea preventative. Besides the severe itchiness and the itchiness and then some more itchiness, you may notice that your dog or cat has a different odor or patches of hair loss and crust/pimples on his/her skin. This typically signifies an accompanying skin infection that must be treated with antibiotics and sometimes a medicated shampoo. These infections can be quite severe and only add to your pet’s discomfort, so it is extremely important to make an appointment with you veterinarian if your pet develops these clinical signs.
Allergies can also affect your pet’s upper respiratory system. Along with sneezing and eye discharge, your dog and cat may develop a sinus infection or conjunctivitis (eye infection) secondary to allergies. Again, both of the ailments require the attention of a veterinarian and specific medications to cure.
For years veterinarians have been treating severe allergy symptoms with steroids, and still use them in some cases. However, with the development of innovative medications we can safely provide relief to your pet without the steroids and their side effects. An oral medication called Apoquel is available now, as well as a similar once monthly injectable version, Cytopoint – both work amazingly well at quelling the itchiness from allergies.
The pollen/allergens are everywhere right now, so be sure to listen to your fluffy friend if they are constantly scratching or have a rash or infection on their skin. Call your vet to get a proper diagnosis and the medications your dog or cat needs to STOP THE SCRATCH!
– Dr. Jillian at Boulevard Animal Hospital