January 31, 2023

Pets might have allergies

ginger cat in grass

At this time of year, the pollen count is high and so with the summer, the longer days and the sunshine, comes the inevitable hay fever and other seasonal ailments.

 

Andrew Bucher, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, said: “While some of us suffer more than others when it comes to seasonal allergies such as hay fever, it’s important to know that pets can have reactions too, often worse than humans. What may cause a sneeze or a cough to us, may lead to painful rashes or swollen paws. We all need to look out for changes to our pet’s behaviour and appearance.”

Whilst these are a big problem for humans, did you know that pets can suffer just as badly too?

A survey in 2012 revealed that almost half (44 per cent) of pet owners didn’t realise their pets can suffer from allergies. 43 per cent admitted they wouldn’t know how to tell if their pet was suffering from an allergy.

This being the case, pet healthcare retailer MedicAnimal has put together a list of things to watch out for and ways to help your pet get through their ailments.

What to look out for:

  • Watch out for pets rubbing their faces or bodies against furniture or carpets in order to try to relieve their itchiness. If left untreated, the skin will become inflamed, reddened and tender. You may even spot areas that have hair loss or open sores
  • Pets with allergies can also show problems with their ears, especially dogs. The ear canals may become inflamed and itchy and may appear in isolation or in combination with a generalised allergic response. Common signs to look out for include scratching of the ears, head shaking, and hair loss. In severe cases, look out for discharge.
  • Hay fever can cause cats and dogs to suffer from respiratory issues such as coughing, sneezing and wheezing. However, it is much more likely for animals to show signs of allergic dermatitis, such as itchy skin, swollen paws and/or inflamed ears. Pets may bite/chew certain parts of the body, or the dermatitis may be present in a more generalised manner across their body

Steps to relieve allergies:

  • If you suspect your pet may be suffering with an allergy, ensure you visit your vet to investigate. They will be best placed to decide on the initial approach to take with your itchy pet, and whether the allergy is seasonal or food related
  • The most important thing to do is to work out the cause of the allergen, whether it be a food intolerance (normally needs 6-12 weeks on an allergen free diet) or a seasonal allergy. The use of steroids (which numb down the immune response but do nothing for identifying the cause) might not be the first choice as it masks the signs initially as they can mask the signs of an allergic response and you will need to wait at least 4-6 weeks for the steroid to ‘wash out’ of the body before allergy testing can begin. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.
  • Frequent baths to wash away the allergens on the coat and skin and try to use grain free shampoos. Foot soaks before your pet enters the house will reduce the level of allergens taken into your home and can have a remarkably positive effect
  • You could also purchase an air purifier which removes allergens in the home, or try covering your pet’s bedding with dust mite (a very common allergen) covers
  • Most allergies develop early, usually within the first 6-12 months of a pet’s life. It is therefore imperative that you address this early as the situation can escalate from one year to the next if left untreated

[Source : http://www.yourcat.co.uk/Your-Cat/pets-can-have-allergies-too.html]