As plants and flowers burst into life this spring, so too do the symptoms of hay fever. Humans are not the only ones who suffer. Blooming plants, grasses and flowers can trigger allergic reactions called atopy in dogs and cats. The allergy is similar to the hay fever that makes people suffer. Your pet reacts to environmental particles such as mold, pollen and dust. Instead of sneezing however, pets typically have itchy skin and will persistently scratch, lick and bite to get relief. Just as in people, pets inherit a predisposition to develop the allergies.
If left untreated, dogs and cats with seasonal allergies will scratch or lick themselves constantly. That brings on problems that can last long after hay fever season ends. With all the scratching and licking, dogs and cats often create sores that become secondary infections.
If your pet shows signs of atopy for less than 3 months out of the year, your veterinarian may prescribe an oral medication to control itching. In severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend a skin allergy test to identify allergens (substances that trigger the allergic reaction in your pet). Other treatments for allergies include immunotherapy, antihistamines, steroids and medicated shampoos.
Allergies make life miserable. If you suspect your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies, give us a call.