After two major ice storms, Atlanta is ready for some warmer weather. The days are becoming longer, the Bradford pears are in bloom, and spring showers are bringing new life. So pull out your flip flops, grab your sunglasses, and stock up on tissues and Benadryl because spring weather and allergies are here.
Like people, pets can have allergies. An allergy is caused by an over-reactive immune system. The three most common types of allergens in pets are environmental (atopy), insects (fleas), and food. A pet could also have a contact allergy to something that comes in contact with their skin, such as a type of fabric, fragrance, or detergent. Foreign proteins from such things can cause histamine release from mast cells in our body. Histamine is what causes the swelling, redness and itch associated with allergies.
The primary symptom of dogs and cats with allergies is itching. Pets with allergies will scratch or lick anywhere on their skin, including the ears and paws. The itching can be localized to one spot or generalized. Occasionally, pets will have an inhaled allergy that could cause problems with the respiratory tract and cause coughing, sneezing, or wheezing.
Just like people, allergens can also irritate the eye and cause redness or discharge. If a pet is allergic to a protein in their food, they could vomit or have diarrhea.
When the allergy is severe, the body’s normal defenses breaks down and an infection with bacteria or yeast can start on the skin or ears. Infections are also itchy and can make your pet more uncomfortable. Once an infection is diagnosed, medications can be prescribed to make your cat or dog feel better.
Please call Ansley Animal Clinic to schedule an appointment when your pet is itchy. Whether its because of seasonal allergies, an infection, or both, we would like to help your pet get some relief! Don’t forget to give your pet flea preventative every month!