Just as Spring blossoms can pose challenges to animalswith seasonal allergies, Autumn can also be uncomfortable for our animalcompanions. In fact, so-called seasonal allergies can be present at any time ofyear. Animals with allergies to tree pollen will suffer in Spring, those withallergies to grass pollen will suffer in Summer, those with weed pollenallergies will suffer in Autumn, and those with dust and mite allergies willsuffer in Winter (vetstreet.com). Unfortunately for some animals with multipleallergies, the suffering can be all year long. But there are treatments andpreventive measures available to help our animal companions to minimize andavoid the discomfort and potential complications of allergies.
Is It Allergies?
Don’t expect sneezing and itchy eyes to accompany youranimal companion’s allergies as they would in people. Instead, look forscratching, itchy ears, and recurrent ear infections (vetstreet.com). Animalswith seasonal allergies tend to have atopic dermatitis, or itchy skin, as theirprimary symptom, with ear issues also being common.
Since other illnesses can have the same symptoms asallergies, it can be hard to tell exactly what is bothering your animalcompanion. The only way to know for sure is to visit your veterinarian for anaccurate diagnosis. Some signs to look for and discuss with your veterinarianinclude itchy skin, particularly around the abdomen and chest, ears and eyes,front paws, and mouth; signs of ear infection, such as itchy ears withdischarge and odor; red eyes; coughing; frequent licking of paws and an odoremanating from the paws; and gastrointestinal symptoms (petmd.com). Try to beespecially aware of your animal companion’s scratching because frequentscratching can lead to skin infections.
How to Help Your Allergic Animal
The good news is that there are many options availableto help ease your animal companion’s allergic suffering. You should discuss allof your choices with your veterinarian to determine the best course of actionfor your unique animal companion. Some of these options include medications,such as antihistamines, and anti-itch shampoos. In more severe cases, your veterinarianmay prescribe a steroid to alleviate your animal companion’s itchiness. It isvery important to get the itch under control to prevent your animal companionfrom scratching his way into a skin infection. If you would prefer to try anall-natural remedy, Earth Animal’s Allergy and Skin Daily Allergy Protection isan organic herbal blend that helps to maintain healthy skin and sootheirritations caused by allergies and insect bites in dogs and cats. While suchremedies are available without a prescription at your local natural animalhealth store, it is still wise to let your veterinarian know about anyover-the-counter treatments you are using.
In further good news, there is research demonstrating apossible link between the microbial environment on the skin, immune systemfunction, and a break down in the skin’s protective barrier function that couldbe at play in allergic atopic dermatitis in dogs (petmd.com). Basically,healthy skin serves as a barrier that keeps bad bacteria out and moisture in.In dogs with atopic dermatitis, it was found that a break down in this functionresulted in too much bacteria on the skin, which leads to the itching.Antibiotics helped to restore the balance (the immune system link). Now,scientists are not sure whether the excess bacteria caused the skin function toweaken or the skin function weakened and allowed the bacteria to thrive, butthere is a relationship there and the antibiotics restored the system to normal(petmd.com). This is interesting and leads to possibilities for treatment andprevention of atopic dermatitis, including a combination of strategies thatmany veterinarians have already been using: frequently washing allergens off ofthe animal’s skin, increasing the skin’s protective barrier function by administeringfatty acid supplements, prescribing antibiotics as needed, and using specialmedications to desensitize the animal to the effects of the allergen(petmd.com).
While Autumn can be a beautiful time of year wherenature is ablaze with color, it can also be a challenging time for our animalswith allergies. Luckily, there are several options to treat autumn (and other)allergies so that our animal companion’s don’t have to suffer.