May is Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month

Did you know May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month for your pets?

Just like humans are affected by allergies, so are your pets.  However, they are very different types of allergies.  Humans usually have a runny nose, or itchy eyes but dogs and cats are irritated on their skin.  Some of the common culprits of this are:

  1. External parasites: Fleas (the most common spring time allergy), mites         (e.g.: scabies and Demodex) and lice

  2. Ringworm (more common with cats)

  3. Bacterial and yeast infections: while commonly associated with any cause of itching, these infections intensify the degree of itchiness

  4. Pet Food: beef, chicken, pork, dairy, fish (cats), corn, wheat and soy may be causing your pet to have some allergies.

  5. Atopy: Atopy describes a heritable disorder caused by an over-reactive immune system responding to normal, non-toxic substances (e.g.: pollens) in your pet’s environment. Some breeds are predisposed: Golden Retrievers, Terriers, Dalmatians, Bulldogs. Dogs with allergies should not be bred to prevent transmission of this frustrating disease. Testing for your pet’s specific allergies helps tailor a specific program for your pet and offers the best results. Options for testing include:
        -Blood allergy testing
        -Intradermal skin testing: most specific test for your pet’s allergies.

While there is no cure for animal allergies, your animal can go through a series of allergy shots to help control the symptoms, the goal of any pet allergy injections is to limit skin irritation and control infections.  

Did you know that 10 people die everyday from asthma attacks? This chronic respiratory disease affects your pets too.  Asthma attacks are serious and can be brought on by things like smoke and dander, but are heightened during the spring, or allergy season.  Some symptoms to watch for are:

  1. Coughing (most common), wheezing, shortness of breath

  2. Shallow, labored breathing (you may observe this as a strong movement of the abdomen as your pet inhales and exhales)

  3. Loss of appetite

  4. Weight loss

  5. Runny nose

  6. Breathing through an open mouth

  7. Tongue and gums turn a blue or purple color due to a lack of oxygen reaching the blood. Be alert for this and if you observe this symptom, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Your veterinarian has multiple options to cure this disease but some immediate steps that you can take are

  1. Eliminate carpets

  2. Keep your pets in their own bed

  3. Remove cloth curtains

Spread awareness to your friends and family to purrrr-tect all of our furry friends from asthma and allergies this May!


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