This year has been unseasonably warm and wet and with this change of weather comes skin allergies. We have seen a great amount of animals come into the clinic already suffering seasonal plant allergies this year. The Spring season is usually the time in which skin allergies will flare up due to pollens in the environment however it seems this climate has brought the seasonal allergies on early.
How do I know if my pet suffers from a skin allergy?
Skin allergies are uncomfortable and irritating so scratching/biting at the skin surface, scooting or head shaking are all indicators of some form of irritation to the skin. Changes on your pet’s skin, for example redness, scabs, crusts, fur loss or pustules, may indicate that your pet has a skin allergy. But never fear something can be done.
So where do allergies come from?
Allergies can arise due to substances absorbed through the skin, which are mainly house dust mites & plant pollens.
They are also caused by external parasites, such as fleas, and diet. Allergies are inherited especially in Labradors, Retrievers and West Highland Terriers.
What preventions are there?
Management involves avoidance of allergy triggers for example when walking your pet, avoid grasses and walk just on the foot paths. Get rid of creepers in your yard and bathing is also a useful way to dilute pollens on the skin. Also, monitoring diet strictly by excluding treats and foods that are known allergy triggers for your pet.
What can be done to treat it?
Malaseb shampoo & Pyohex lotion are products available over the counter that can help minimised secondary infection. Secondary infections can occur, which requires a trip to the vet. Antihistamines, cyclosporin and cortisone can be used to control the allergy. There are also hypo-allergenic foods that can be useful in managing this condition eg. Hydrolysed food like Hills Z/D or novel antigen food like Eukanuba Skin & Coat Plus.