Treating Your Pet’s Skin Allergies

Pollen-based Pet Allergies or Atopy are Not Just a Summertime Phenomena.

pet allergies veterinarianFall is here. Even for Los Angeles, which often seems to have just small variables to a year-round summer. However, for our pets, the recent cooler weather, although welcome for those who have respiratory issues, has not diminished what has been building throughout the year—their allergy symptoms. So to the surprise of many pet owners, I and other area veterinarians are still spending a great deal of our time talking to clients about why their pets are displaying the tell-tale symptoms of allergic dermatitis.

Pet Skin Allergies: the #1 Reason for Veterinarian Visits

It is true that the most common reason owners bring their dogs and cats to the veterinarian is for skin allergies. Owners note that their pet is spending an inordinate amount of time grooming or scratching themselves at all hours of the day or night, or maybe especially at night, when owners are trying to sleep but their pet seems intent on keeping everyone awake licking or chewing on themselves. It’s annoying to the owners, so imagine how it must be bothering the pet! And, eventually, pet skin allergies can lead to some serious problems, with the damage done to the skin leading to ulcerations and infections, the classical “hot spot” being a prime example.

Why Pet Allergies Increase in the Fall

Why has the fall caused these particular pet allergies, known as “atopy”, to reach a zenith? A lack of rain may be the principal reason for in increase in pet skin allergies. Pollen, dust, and insect proteins accumulate in the environment, and their numbers build until washed away or degraded from the water provided by rain. Those pollens produced during the Spring? Still here in October without the benefits of a good washing away by a rainstorm.

And so all of the Spring, Summer, and now Fall pollen-releases accumulate, and those dogs and cats with allergic reactions to them get bombarded by greater and greater numbers of allergens. It becomes hard to even distinguish whether pets prone to allergies are suffering from any particular seasonal atopy — they are just suffering.

Fleas Compound Pet Skin Allergy Problems

Adding to the misery, unfortunately, fleas remain a burden in some backyards, parkways, or even in houses, especially if ineffective flea adulticides were used, or a there was a lack of flea growth-inhibitor employed. Fleas also reach greater numbers from Summer into the Fall. The cooler weather will eventually make the fleas less active, but for the time being, they only compound the problem.

And what a problem it is. The physiologic reaction of encountering these allergens produces localized intense itching, whether it be on the bottoms of the paws, the underside of the belly, around the tail, inside of the ears, or on the side of the face. And when generalized symptoms develop, it doesn’t seem to matter where you touch the pet, it induces them to immediately start to itch. As a result of the scratching and chewing, one then sees the other symptoms of allergic dermatitis, the lesions of self-trauma: redness, flaking, greater pigmentation, infections, and the aforementioned “hot spots”. These tend to make the itching worse, prompting even more scratching; thus, we have the classical “itch-scratch” cycle.

New Veterinarian Treatments for Pet Skin Allergies

Atopy is a problem that has been in existence for much longer than modern veterinary medicine, and it is not likely to abate any time soon. However, there have been a few recent upgrades to the arsenal of effective treatments veterinarians can offer, so more pets may benefit than ever before. And sometimes even just a reminder of the simple-but-experience-proven solutions can lead a pet owner to help their atopy-affected dog and cat.

Our Manhattan Beach Veterinarians Can Help with Pet Skin Allergies

So don’t let fall be a time to throw up one’s hands from the frustrations of an onset of dog or cat itchiness. With the collection of a good history, a good skin exam, and a few tests, your veterinarian may be able to map out a solution to your pet’s immediate skin issues. It’s a good time to find out what is new, or what is old and effective, and put them into use to make your pet family member comfortable again.

CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to treat your pet’s skin allergies.

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