It's Hayfever Season!
The weather’s getting warmer, flowers are blooming and everyone’s getting allergies.
The weather’s getting warmer, flowers are blooming and everyone’s getting allergies. Do you know how to recognise hayfever in your pet?
Allergies occur because the immune system overreacts to a perceived threat to your pet’s health. Sometimes we can identify a cause of the allergies, such as food or fleabites. However sometimes we can’t find a cause for the allergies, in which case the most likely cause is atopy, also known as hayfever. Atopy, or hayfever, describes dogs that have a tendency to develop allergies, often to multiple allergens. Hayfever can appear in our pets the same way as it commonly does in humans, but it’s far more common for pets with hayfever to get itchy, red skin. The typical cycle goes like this: in response to an allergen pets show symptoms such as rashes, scabs, ear infections, backside rubbing, and just plain scratching — sometimes in one location, sometimes all over. Left unchecked this can result in skin trauma, inflammation and infection. Hayfever will normally develop between 1-3 years of age, but can start at other times. If your dog’s parents have hayfever, there is a fair chance your dog will as well.
There are many possible allergens, including pollen, grass seeds, insect bites, mould and dust mites.
First, we check for other causes of itchiness such as flea allergies and food allergies. If a cause is found then we can treat the cause directly.
If no cause is found, or the allergen cannot be avoided, treatment depends partially on the severity of the hayfever. If it is only mild, occasional use of cortisone sprays and tablets may be enough to control the symptoms when they have flare-ups. For pets with more severe allergies this medication may not be enough, or may be required in amounts that cause side effects. If this happens your vet may recommend your pet go on long term allergy medication, or may recommend allergy testing to find out what your pet is allergic to so that immune therapy targeting the specific cause of the hayfever can be started. Together, we can get your pet’s skin under control.