Springtime Allergies in Dogs
Spring is here and the flowers are blooming! We all enjoy the explosion of colour and warmer weather at this time of the year, however Springtime also brings pollen, and subsequently the risk of your four-legged friend suffering discomfort from allergies.
Seasonal allergies are a common cause of skin and ear problems seen in dogs during Springtime. With the onset of warmer weather we see many patients presenting with allergy or 'hayfever' symptoms including:
Red, teary eyes
Licking of the paws
At this time of year we can usually attribute these symptoms to one of the following types of allergy:
Canine Atopic Dermatitis, which is a genetically predisposed allergic skin disease. These dogs are allergic to environmental allergens such as dust mites and tree pollen. While the location of the itch can vary slightly depending on the breed of dog, generally the muzzle, armpits, elbows, ears, and the skin around the eyes and between the toes are most affected.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis occurs when your pet comes directly into contact with something they are allergic to, such as certain plants or grass. The most common allergens are plants such as Wandering Jew, Melaleuca and Couch Grass.
If your dog has a known grass allergy there are a few steps you can take to minimise your dog’s discomfort:
Limit your dog’s access to grassed areas during Springtime.
Wipe down or give your dog a bath after exercise.
Keep your grass well-maintained and avoid access to lawns for 24 hours after mowing. (Grass sap contains allergens).
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dogs don't have the chemical 'histamine' present in their system as humans do, that's why using antihistamines is often ineffective. We now have access to new generation medications that have little to no side effects allowing superior control of allergies without needing to refer our patients to dermatology specialists. They work like your dog’s own immune system to block the main protein that sends signals that trigger allergic itch. It starts controlling allergic itch within one day and lasts for 4 to 8 weeks.
A diagnosis can be determined by a thorough allergy questionnaire, skin testing, and/or running a blood test. The allergy test helps determine which environmental allergens your dog is allergic to, so that the allergens can be avoided (not always possible) or desensitising treatment can be planned.
If your dog is experiencing the discomfort of Spring allergies, call us for a consultation on (03) 9568 2211 or click below to book online.