August is Allergy Season Awareness
The summer heat wave is finally here. Now that the rain has stopped, environmental allergens are blooming, and you may be noticing a change in your dogs
Behavior. Have you noticed an increase in head shaking, ear scratching, foot chewing, or possibly hot spots on their skin? These could be due to seasonal allergies which are becoming a fast problem this time of year.
Unlike people, who sneeze, cough, and have runny, itchy eyes, dogs manifest their allergies through their skin by scratching and ear infections. Dogs can be allergic to fleas, food, and environmental allergens such as grasses and pollens.
You may be noticing a bad smell from the ears; allergies can cause ear infections. Yeast and bacteria thrive in dark places. Risk factors such as floppy ears, ear canals overgrown with hair, and swimming can predispose dogs to ear infections and exacerbate clinical symptoms. Proper grooming and after- swimming ear care is very important to reduce the risk of infection. Ears need to be flushed with a cleanser that has a drying-agent, to dry any water that may have been retained in the external ear canal. This precaution is also good for after baths or any activity involved with water. Most of the cleansers that come from a veterinary hospital change the pH in the ear to make it harder for yeast and bacteria to grow. Infected ears are usually red, swollen, have a strong odor, and may have discharge that comes back after they have been
The skin can also become puritic (itchy) with allergies, and you may notice them scratching even if no fleas are present. Chewing on feet is another symptom of Allergies. Excessive licking, chewing, and scratching can lead to secondary skin infection, which may need to be treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, and possibly medicated shampoos. Once a skin infection starts, it can spread over all of the skin very quickly and become painful and expensive to treat. Noticing problems like these early is key to fast relief and less expense. Hot spots are another problem that can result from licking and chewing. This is a moist dermatitis that can start the size of a ping pong ball and go to the size of a ping pong paddle in no time. This is a very painful skin infection and may require sedation to clean properly.
Allergy season can be a frustrating time of year. Your veterinarian can help you determine if your pet is suffering from allergies and how best to treat your pet.
Please call Argyle Veterinary Hospital at (940)464-3231 if you have any questions about allergies or anything else that we can help you with.