A puppy sitting in a green grassy area scratching itself behind the ear.

It’s finally Spring, with the sun sticking around a little longer each day, and the early buds beginning to raise their heads. Unfortunately, seasonal allergy woes of itchy noses and watery eyes have also arrived–for both pets and humans.

Allergies, including the seasonal kind, affect our four-legged friends, too. In fact, your pet may have them year-round, or just when certain things are in full bloom. They can cause irritation and discomfort, and can even become a long term problem for a furry family member.

The team at OVRS takes a closer look at allergies in pets, and how they can be treated.

Uh-oh! Scratching, Hacking, and Watery Eyes

Seasonal allergies, or environmental allergies (atopy) in pets are all too common. Environmental allergies are those caused by anything in the air, including pollens. Spring is rife for these types of allergens, with flowers, trees, and grasses releasing their pollen. Seasonal allergies can occur throughout the year, though, especially in warmer climates.

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Excessive scratching
  • Pawing at face and eyes
  • Rubbing head on furniture and carpet
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Skin inflammation

Allergies are an overreaction to a substance, which causes the immune system to go into overdrive. When this occurs, your pet will obviously be uncomfortable. Your pet is also at risk of infection or illness because of the immune system being taxed.

Untreated allergies can result in infection, whether from chronic scratching of the skin or persistent coughing and irritation of the respiratory passageways. This is why it is so important to have your pet examined. We can test to determine the source of the allergen(s) and how to alleviate the symptoms.

Other Types of Seasonal Allergies in Pets

It’s easy to assume that symptoms coinciding with spring are caused by pollen. However, there are other seasonal allergens that don’t have to do with blooms. These include:

  • Fleas
  • Pollution (as the temperature warms, air quality can become poor)
  • Insect stings, such as bee stings
  • Ticks
  • Use of carpet cleaners, upholstery shampoos, etc.

There is no definitive way of isolating these allergens without doing allergy testing. In most cases, we try and rule out the most obvious causes. In parallel, we can provide treatment to give relief to irritated skin, red eyes, and/or coughing. If symptoms worsen or remain, it may require more extensive tests.

Treatment and At Home Care

Traditional treatment for allergies in pets relies heavily on antihistamines and mild steroids. There are new treatments being offered, including medications that create barriers to the allergens, and alternative modalities like acupuncture. For a greater understanding of these treatments, OVRS provides allergy testing and a wide range of treatment options, including those for skin conditions. Please call for a consultation.

To help reduce allergic response at home, we suggest:

  • Bathing your pet regularly with an hypoallergenic shampoo or soothing oatmeal cleanser
  • Washing bedding and blankets frequently
  • Vacuuming often
  • Using an air filter in areas where your pet sleeps and a Hepa filter in your vacuum
  • Keeping your pet on flea and tick preventatives

Is your pet itching more than usual? Are the hacking and sneezing causing discomfort? Do you have questions about allergies in pets, or would like to make an appointment? Your expert team of specialists at OVRS can help assist! Please do not hesitate to reach out.