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Signs your pet has seasonal allergies and how to help

 by lucy on 06 May 2017 |
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Spring is the season for new growth and with it comes runny noses, itchy eyes and a host of other symptoms of seasonal allergies. Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer seasonally, however: Many of our pets are also allergic to pollen, mold and other common allergens. What many animal lovers don't realize is that dogs and cats have different reactions to the same things we’re allergic to.
There are four main types of allergens that affect our pets. Depending on what type of allergy your pet has, he will display different symptoms. While some dogs and cats have watery eyes and sneezing fits, the most common reaction to allergies is itching in our furry friends. Incessant scratching can lead to open sores, hair loss and infected wounds if the underlying cause is not addressed— meaning knowing the signs of allergies and finding the right cure crucial to your pet’s wellbeing.
Environmental allergens that pets inhale or cause problems when they come into contact with the skin are known as atopy and include pollen, mold spores and dust mites. Another common seasonal ailment is flea allergy dermatitis, a reaction some animals have to the saliva in fleabites. Though pets can also experience food allergies and contact allergies caused by plastics, carpet fibers and other substances, these are less common and less seasonal.
Atopy symptoms range from gnawing at the feet to constant licking of the side and groin; incessant face rubbing; inflamed ears or chronic ear infections; lesions, hotspots or scabbing; and asthma-like wheezing and other respiratory problems. Red or inflamed skin and hair loss caused by itching, scratching, biting and chewing are telltale signs your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies. Because fleas are out in force during the warmer months of the year, flea allergy dermatitis can be a seasonal problem, too, indicated by itchy spots and red bumps.
If your dog or cat shows any of these symptoms and you suspect he is suffering from seasonal allergies, visit your veterinarian. Based on the type of allergy and severity of systems, your vet will suggest different treatments for your pet. Some animals respond to antihistamines, which you should only give with your veterinarian’s guidance. Pets suffering from extreme itching and discomfort may need steroids to provide fast relief. If your dog or cat has a secondary skin infection, he may also require antibiotics. An intradermal skin test, which injects a small amount of test allergens into your pet’s skin, can help pinpoint the problem of moderate to severe allergies and may allow your vet to create a specialized serum or immunotherapy shot for your companion. At home, try avoiding known allergens, or wiping your pet down or bathing him regularly of you cannot avoid the offending substances.

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