As many hay fever sufferers are well aware the pollen and allergy season is hotting up! We need to take a minute to remember our pets……….we have been seeing an increase in the number of patients which are becoming more itchy (pruritic) despite having up to date flea treatments. We always recommend to use a good flea product one that both your vet and as an owner you have confidence in. All too often we see products being applied which perhaps are not being as effective.

We always encourage owners to call their local Swaynes ‘branch if you notice your dog or cat is becoming more itchy, just think how frustrating that mosquito bite is when you get one, all you can think of intermittently throughout the day is itching it! The same goes for our pets.

When are we suspicious of allergies?

Allergies in pets can present in many different ways from mild itching of the skin to extreme scabs, hair loss and ear disease.

Clinical signs that your dog maybe affected by allergies incude:

  • Itching even when treated for external parasites i.e. fleas
  • Licking feet excessively
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea (often food allergies)
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose

Cats can present with slightly different clinical signs but can also have scabs on the skin often around the head, inflammation, ear disease.

There are many reasons for each of these clinical signs. For example ear infections can be a one off or can be caused, especially at this time of year, by foreign bodies i.e. grass seeds. Hair loss can be caused by scratching or can be caused by other systemic problems such as hormonal changes i.e. low thyroid hormone. If your dog has any of these clinical signs please call your local Swaynes’ branch to have a chat.

Allergies can be caused by the environment i.e. pollen, grass, even cat hair – yes dogs can be allergic to their own fellow cat housemates. The clinical signs of allergies can also be caused when allergens are inhaled not just through contact, or can occur through ingestion i.e. food allergies. Some food allergies can show skin changes but also persistent vomiting/ diarrhoea but this is another blog article entirely!

Allergies can be associated with:

  • Fleas (flea bit hypersensitivity)
  • Inhaled allergens (pollens)
  • Contact allergens (grasses/ pollens)
  • Ingested allergens (food allergies/ intolerances)
  • Inherited /genetic

How can I help my dog with skin allergies?

There are many ways to help to manage your pet with allergies. This includes finding out the cause, sometimes blood tests can be useful to identify the environmental allergens that are causing a problem for your pet. If this is not possible managing the clinical signs with medication can help. This often helps to break the itch scratch cycle. There are many medications such as new antibody based therapies i.e. Cytopoint, to oral medications which interact at other points in the itch scratch cycle i.e. steroids or Apoquel.

Allergies are very complicated cases and there is never a simple one treatment suits all patients. We always ask clients to be patient while we try to work out what suits your pet and how best to manage the level of irritation they have with their skin.

If you want to chat to one of our vets further about your pets skin please don’t hesitate to contact your nearest branch.