With a spring in our step, there is a new found feeling of motivation to get back into being active. We all know what comes with this change in season… hay fever. Preparation begins about a month before, ensuring we have all the appropriate medication for a sneezing symphony or irritated eyes and a packet of tissues are always on hand. However, what about our pets? They can also become victims of this allergy period. While we have a range of medication that can help prevent the symptoms of these allergies, fortunately your vet can help do the same for your pet.
Our pets can scratch and soothe an itch in many different ways. You will notice that your pet is itchy through noticing the below signs:
- Chewing or licking their feet
- Chewing or biting their tail
- Redness and scratching their belly, armpits or groin
- Scratching or shaking their ears
- Scratching their face
- Loss of hair
- Repeated ear or skin infections
- Conjunctivitis or sore eyes
Determining what is causing your pet to react this way can take some time, usually several months. An intradermal skin test can help to identify what is causing your pet this discomfort. This is usually conducted by a dermatologist. . In most cases, the reaction is due to an allergy to environmental stimulus, such as a grass or pollen, or type of protein they are eating e.g. chicken or beef. Environmental allergens tend to be the most common cause and unfortunately impossible to avoid!
If your pet has a food allergy, then diagnoses is made through trialling a special hydrolysed or novel protein diet, your vet is the best person to advise you on suitable options. This process generally takes 8 weeks and it is very important to only feed your furry family member the trial diet (so no treats or human snacks!). In some cases of food allergies, diarrhoea, vomiting and weight loss may also be observed.
Once your pet has been diagnosed with an allergy, they will have it for the rest of their life. Getting it checked early is very important so that you can help eliminate the causes of the itching and decide on the best treatment. This treatment can vary however often consists of daily tablets or monthly injections, so that walk time is enjoyed and not avoided!