Seasonal allergies

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332 High Street
Victoria 3564

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03 5482 3202

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389 Poictiers Street
NSW 2710

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03 5881 5488

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NSW 2713

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The onset of spring brings with it an abundance of pollen throughout the air. As with hay fever in humans, pets can also suffer allergic symptoms during these warmer months. However, unlike us, the main symptom allergic pets will exhibit is an intense itch, mainly over their feet and stomach, but sometimes around their face.

There are many aspects to therapy when treating pets with allergies. The mainstay of treatment is to place pets on steroids for a couple of weeks to reduce the pet’s immune system reacting to pollen. There are numerous side effects associated with steroids such as an increased appetite and thirst, lethargy and an increased risk of infection. It is for this reason that we avoid keeping pets on high-dose steroid therapy long-term, and so other avenues of treatment need to be explored if the pet is itchy year-round. If the itch is only limited to the belly or feet of your pet, their allergies can sometimes be controlled solely with a steroid cream that can be applied 1-2 times per week.

Although effective in humans, antihistamines are NOT reliable in controlling the symptoms of allergies in our animal companions.

Additionally, many pets with an acute allergic episode will develop a bacterial skin infection as a result of them continuously scratching at their skin. This is a perpetuating problem as the skin infection can cause intense itching, even if the allergic cause is no longer present. This needs to be treated with antibiotics for a minimum of 10 days, and is a vital component of therapy.

Some pets have problems with their skin barrier, allowing pollen and irritants to enter their body through their skin. To improve this and help prevent further allergic episodes, it is recommended to use a long rinse cycle when shampooing (using a mild pet shampoo 1-2 times per week) to help hydrate their skin and improve the moisture content. However, some dogs can have worse symptoms after bathing, and it is recommended that these animals are NEVER bathed more than once a fortnight.

All in all, seasonal allergies in pets can be very frustrating and annoying for both pet and owner. There are also numerous other reasons pets can present with an intense itch, such as a food allergy or flea allergy dermatitis.