HEALTH & WELLNESS
AACL – Animal Anti-Cruelty League

We’re excited and honoured to feature South Africa’s second largest independent animal welfare organisation on PetlifeSA for one year, starting July 2019.

Let’s Take a Look at Pollen Allergy in Pets

Just like humans, dogs and cats can be allergic to pollen which is an inhalant allergen. During allergy season, when pollen counts are very high, allergies can flare up.

Types of Inhalant Allergens

  • Tree pollens
  • Grass pollens
  • Weed pollens
  • House dust mites
  • Mildew
  • Mold
  • Dust

Good To Know

Pets that are allergic to inhalant allergens may be allergic to flea saliva and certain foods as well.

Signs and Affected Body Parts

Typically dogs will start showing signs of allergic reaction to inhalant allergens between the ages of one and three.

  • Paws: Swollen
  • Nose: Sneezing
  • Eyes: Itchy and/or runny
  • Face: Swollen face, lips and/or eyelids
  • Throat: Inflamed which leads to snoring
  • Skin: Itchy (pruritus), moist, red (inflamed) or scabbed
  • Ears: Itchy and/or swollen; chronic ear infections
  • Gastrointestinal: Diarrhoea and/or vomiting
  • General: Continual licking and/or chewing

A pet’s muzzle, underarms, groin, wrists, ankles and areas between the toes may be affected as well.

Remember: Several of these symptoms may be signs of other health issues.

Risk

Skin allergies can lead to secondary infections when wounds (from scratching, biting and licking) become infected.

How to Identify Allergies

Possible ways to test for allergies (which may not be conclusive) include:

  • Blood tests
  • Intradermal skin tests

Treating Allergies in Pets

It’s hard to protect pets from environmental allergens, but there are treatments that may help some pets.

  • Antihistamines
  • Wipe body daily with a damp towel
  • Spray with solution containing oatmeal and aloe
  • Cyclosporine: Suppresses immune system function
  • Bathing with therapeutic or hypoallergenic shampoo
  • Corticosteroids
  • Fatty acid supplementation may boost steroid and antihistamines treatment
  • Hyposensitisation/desensitisation therapy through allergy injection serum or allergy shots

What is Atopy?

Atopy, in a nutshell, is a heightened immune response to common allergens in the environment. It is thought to be genetic and leads to allergic diseases namely atopic dermatitis (formerly allergic inhalant dermatitis), allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. Unfortunately there’s no cure, but symptoms can be controlled and managed in most cases.

IF YOU THINK YOUR PET IS SUFFERING FROM AN ALLERGY, TALK TO YOUR VETERINARIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO FIND A SOLUTION OR TO OFFER RELIEF.

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