With the arrival of the beautiful weather we have been having allergies. Many of us are all too familiar to the runny nose, red itchy eyes and sneezing that hits like a tonne of bricks when the weather gets nicer and the plants begin to bloom. However, what many people do not know, that even our furry friends can experience seasonal allergies.
Common Signs and Symptoms:
When we see dogs with seasonal allergies we look at three key areas: The Ears, Skin and Paws. Allergies in dogs usually present themselves in the form of skin inflammation or irritation. You may hear your veterinarian refer to this as “allergic dermatitis”. Allergic dermatitis often results in your dog’s skin becoming tremendously itchy. You may notice your dog scratching his ears, skin or even chewing at his paws. As a result from all of this scratching your dog’s skin will eventually become inflamed and sore to the touch. Hair loss, scabbing and skin lesions may also be a by-product of the scratching. Another sign of allergies are ear infections. You may notice a strong odor or even a discharge coming from your dogs ears, these are the tell tale signs that your dog has an ear infection.
Diagnosing seasonal allergies is often done by trial and error. This means that other causes of dermatitis such as yeast, bacterial infections, food allergies or parasites like fleas and ticks must be ruled out first. These rule outs can be done by doing cytology of the lesions, changing the diet, or checking for parasites. After the other causes of dermatitis are ruled out, blood tests can be done to help identify the specific allergens that are causing problems.
While environmental allergies are a lifelong condition, there are a few things we can do to manage the symptoms. Depending on the severity of the allergy dermatitis your veterinarian may recommend oral or topical medications, specialized shampoos or immune therapy.
This blog post was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic in Brampton providing quality affordable veterinary care