We have sprung into allergy season early this year. While the sun is much appreciated, the watery eyes, itchy skin and sniffling nose of allergy symptoms are not. Both cats and dogs are affected by environmental allergies as well; and the symptoms may vary not just by species, but also by individuals.
Respiratory signs of allergic pets include sneezing, wheezing, reverse sneezing, watery nasal discharge, watery eyes, and even eye infections. By far the most common signs of allergies in dogs and cats is itchiness. Itchiness is not simply a pet scratching itself using its paws (and nails), but it is also licking of the paws, rubbing of the face on the ground (or an indoor carpet), licking of the belly, scooting the bum, and nibbling of the skin. And because ears are an extension of the skin, ear infections are also common in allergic pets. Ear itchiness usually includes head shaking and scratching in the general region of the ear base.
Currently, a lot of pets are being affected by allergies but a number of treatment options exist. The fact is that a lot can be done for pets suffering from environmental allergies. The only treatment known to stop the progression of allergies is desensitization therapy (or allergy shots). It is also the most natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Other treatment options also exist such as repairing an allergic patient’s skin barrier function, which involves the use of hydrating shampoo therapy, skin oils, ceramides, dietary recommendations, and appropriate grooming protocols to name a few. These are also a very natural way to treat allergies in pets without the risk of side effects caused by medications. Medications that help with therapy include steroids, cyclosporine, and other immunosuppressive medication. Often, a combination of these approaches may be needed to bring relief to an allergic pet.
By – Dr. Jangi Bajwa,
Veterinary Dermatologist & Practice Owner
Dr. Jangi Bajwa is a Board certified veterinary dermatologist at VetDERM Clinic in Surrey BC. He is also the dermatology feature editor for Canadian Veterinary Journal. Dr. Bajwa’s special interests include otitis and allergic disease in pets; as well as helping improve quality of life of pets and their families.