The delights of autumn abound: crisp air, beautiful fall leaves, and pumpkin spice everything. But when it comes to our pets, one thing that fall brings may not be so pleasant: fall pet allergies.
Pet allergies are not just limited to the springtime. Any change of season can bring discomfort for your pet in the form of uncomfortable itching and skin infections. These fall pet allergies are often caused by plants that pollinate in the fall, such as ragweed, sagebrush, tumbleweeds, and lamb’s-quarters.
With a little knowledge and planning, you can help if fall pet allergies strike. Animal Medical Hospital takes a look at what an allergic pet looks like, and what you can do to help them.
What Do Fall Pet Allergies Look Like?
Pets with environmental allergies can have symptoms seasonally or year round. Many people miss signs of allergies in their pets because they aren’t observing sneezing. Sneezing is one sign of allergies, but more commonly, pets with fall allergies are seen to constantly scratch and lick their skin. They may often scratch so hard that hair loss and sores appear, followed by skin infection.
Pollen from plants can be inhaled and cause skin problems, from the inside. Pollen also settles on your pet’s skin and coat, and can trigger allergic reactions on the skin from the outside. This reaction is called atopy.
The other common sign of fall pet allergies is itchy ears and recurrent ear infections. Even without other signs of allergies, ear infections secondary to atopy may occur. This may cause pet parents to treat the ear infections without realizing that there is an underlying cause.
What You Can Do
The good news for pet owners of pets suffering from fall pet allergies is that many options exist to help pets feel better. The first step is an evaluation with your veterinarian to check your pet’s symptoms and determine if any secondary infection exists. Next, we’ll talk about medications and medicated shampoos to help your pet feel better.
We normally start with milder drugs to help stop itching, and work up to something stronger if those aren’t doing the trick. Antihistamines, anti-itch shampoos that also remove the pollen, and occasional steroids may be all that’s needed to bring relief for your pet.
If those aren’t working, we may also recommend cyclosporine (Atopica) or desensitization therapy with injections or oral drops.
Help Prevent Fall Pet Allergies
Most of the time, we’re all happy if your pet stops itching. Sometimes, we like to know more specifically what your pet is allergic to, so that we can prevent allergic reactions from beginning. In these cases, allergy testing can tell us more about what exactly is triggering your pet’s allergies, so you can minimize exposure to those things. This can reduce the need for symptomatic drugs.