Itchy and Scratchy: A Primer on Spring Pet Allergies
Environmental allergies affect people and pets alike. While most of us tend to have watery eyes this time of year, spring pet allergies primarily cause itchy skin. Licking or chewing of the paws, ear infections, and chronic skin infections are the unfortunate results of budding trees and flowering plants. The good news? There are ways to manage the potential pain, stress, and suffering associated with constant scratching.
Across the Board
Pets of all ages and breeds can develop allergies. There are food allergies, flea allergies, and, of course, spring pet allergies to contend with in any given year. Some animals may never be bothered by grass or pollen, but with an uptick of airborne plant material, the chances of exposure multiply.
Allergies are the result of the immune system overreacting to a foreign substance, or allergen. This developed state of hypersensitivity is in response to pollen, mold, flea saliva, dust, and anything else in the environment that creates a triggered response.
Spring pet allergies are also referred to as inhalant allergies, with the symptoms of atopy manifesting as excessively itchy skin.
Similar, but Different
People suffer sinus headaches, runny noses, and tearing eyes. Spring pet allergies center on the skin. Allergic dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin, can create minor to severe symptoms, such as:
- Itchy skin
- Excessive biting, chewing, or licking
- Head shaking
- Painful red skin or ears
- Red, watery eyes
- Hair loss
- Open sores
- Sneezing or coughing
Minimizing the Effects of Spring Pet Allergies
Spring pet allergies can be very frustrating to deal with. Since there is no cure, management of symptoms is incredibly important to an animal’s well-being. We are happy to work closely with you to determine the right course of action, that may include:
- Prescription topical medications, antihistamines, corticosteroids,antibiotics (if skin infection is present), or other immunosuppressive medications
- Nutritional supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acid
- Daily vacuuming, dusting, and filtering the air with a HEPA air filter
- Bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner to soothe the skin
- Soaking the feet (if paw licking is prevalent)
- Updating monthly parasite preventative medication
- Reducing exposure to triggers
Allergy testing can help identify the specific cause of spring pet allergies. Intradermal allergy testing involves inserting a small amount of a potential allergen into the skin and measuring the body’s response. Blood tests run values of certain antibodies against specific allergens. Once we know what your pet is allergic to, we may be able to desensitize them with a serum that significantly reduces scratching.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding spring pet allergies. Remember, they can affect any pet, at any time, even those who have never shown a sensitivity before. Getting a jumpstart on treatment directly following worrisome symptoms will give a pet a great deal of relief.