It is finally spring: the grass is green, the trees are blooming, insects are buzzing, and your pet my be scratching frantically…
Seasonal allergies. Like people, animals experience seasonal allergies at this time of the year – making them miserable. With patience, an accurate diagnosis can be determined and treatment can be started so both you and your pet can have more relaxing year.
Symptoms. People tend to have sneezing and watery eyes when exposed to allergens (substances that cause allergies), but animal more commonly experience skin disorders. You may notice your pet licking his paws, rubbing his face or scratching. Hair loss or rashes my be seen. Skin or ear infections can also develop.
Who, why? Seasonal allergies affect more dogs than cats. Animals usually begin showing signs of allergies between 1 and 3 years of age. Most allergens are inhaled, ingested or acquired through physical contact. Common allergens include pollens, molds, house dust, fleas, other insect bites, foods and chemicals.
Diagnosis. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of exact cause may be difficult and costly to determine. A thorough history and physical examination by your veterinarian is essential. Blood testing to determine the wellness of your pet as well as their allergens can be submitted to evaluation. A referral to dermatologist my also be necessary. There, intradermal testing can be done. Intradermal test is a minor test. The dermatologist injects a small amount of several common allergens under the skin and the skin is monitored closely for the reaction.
Treatment. Once the allergens are identified, an appropriate treatment can be planed. The treatment can be simple as a diet change, a topical flea preventative, or administration of an antihistamine . It can also be as advanced as custom designed hyposensitization program or an immunosuppressant drug. Such advanced treatments take time to be fully effective, may be costly, and sometimes - may not work at all.
Steroid? The last, and the most popular option, would be use of an immunosuppressing steroid . Although the use of steroid quickly stops the itching that occurs with allergies, there are many side effects due to them. These may include weight gain, increased thirst and accompanying increase in urination. Therefore, using steroids as directed is essential.
Don’t let your pet suffer from allergies, since there are safe and effective treatments available that will allow them to live a happy, healthy and itch-free life.
They deserve that; right?
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