Now if you sang that along to the ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ theme song from the Simpsons, I’ll be impressed!
Firstly we’d like to say a massive big thank you to everyone who supported Team MBVC during the month of August for our PAWgust fundraiser. We raised an incredible $1076! To those who donated, or watched us along our journey via our social media platforms, we truly appreciate it. We all had a great time taking selfies with our pets and exploring the many wonderful areas in the Murraylands region. So thank you to all!
But back on topic – spring is here! We can say good bye to the cold, wintry, -3 degree weather and welcome the sunshine, the bees and the flowers! But with spring, you know that means the dreaded pollen and dust that will be floating in the air! Have you been battling hay fever symptoms already? Are you reaching for the Zyrtec?
Did you know just like us, dogs and cats can have allergies to spring? Well… not all of spring! For many people, they have been cooped up inside whether it being from the winter weather, to look after themselves (and others) due to COVID-19, or because they are having to work at home. So as you can understand, they’d be wanting to take full advantage of the lovely spring days that are full of sunshine by going for walks with their four-legged fur-kids! As per normal, they love to rolling and frolicking around in the grass, adventuring through all sorts of bushes and flowers. We’ve known a cat or two who also enjoy going for an afternoon stroll in the sun!
Unfortunately, our pets can develop environmental allergies from all these new flowers and grasses. Although you won’t see dogs reaching for the tissues or looking for the Zyrtec, they get very itchy and irritated skin.
Allergic reactions in our furry companions are often characterised by skin problems which is then aggravated by their primary symptoms – itching and scratching. They can itch for many reasons and sometimes for no reason at all. Some scratching is normal, but when our pets are continuously licking, scratching, biting and chewing to the point of traumatising the skin, it’s when we need to intervene. Itchy skin is the second most common reason why people take their dogs to the vet.
Why does my pet itch and scratch:
Cat and dog skin allergies fall into three main categories: flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), environmental allergies and food allergies. Environmental allergy, or in vet speak “Atopy”, is an allergic reaction to airborne substances like pollen, moulds, household dust, mites and animal dander (skin or hair fragments). Our doggy fur-babies are most likely affected but it can be seen in some cats.
What are the symptoms?
Dogs that may have an environmental allergy often present with the following symptoms:
- Itchy – mostly around the face, feet, lower chest and belly
- Licking or chewing at themselves
- Hair loss
- Red, inflamed skin
- Sores or scabs over skin
- Moist open wounds
It can be difficult to tell exactly what your furry companion may be allergic to. A process of elimination is the first step. Other causes of itching, such as fleas, mites, lice, bacterial and yeast infections as well as food allergies must be ruled out first.
Environmental allergies can be extremely unpleasant for your dog and can also be difficult for everyone else in the family. And we don’t want you to avoid taking your furry pets out on walks! Unfortunately it can be a lifelong condition as there is no known cure. The good news is there are a number of things our lovely team of veterinarians can recommend for your pooch or kitty that can help manage the problem. These things can include:
- Antibiotic and antihistamine medication
- Apoquel – anti itch medication
- Soothing shampoos & moisturisers
- Changing your pets’ diet to a prescription diet such as Hills z/d, Hills Sensitive skin or Hills Derm Defence.
Spring time is a great time to go out with your family and pets, and allergies shouldn’t deter you spending time with outside. Particularly in these troubling times, being able to get outside in the fresh air can sometimes be the best medicine. And why wouldn’t you want to share that with your furry companions.