Seasonal allergies in pets

Seasonal allergies in pets
Seasonal allergies in cats and dogs are seen through excessive scratching and recurring ear infections. (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Seasonal allergies can certainly make people feel miserable this time of year, but did you know your pet could also be feeling under the weather?  The symptoms are different in animals and there are specific treatments to give relief.

When Sandy Laurel became a doggie mom to now 11-year-old Maltese, Buster, she thought pet ownership would be pretty simple.

"We just thought you had a dog, you play with it and you feed it, you keep up their annual check ups and they're fine," said Laurel.  "Buster turned out to be an exception."

It was a few years ago when Buster started scratching himself to the point that he would get skin infections.

"It started with all of the scratching and itching, then he would get little sore spots," said Laurel.  "It was more seasonal, but it just continued as he got older, the allergies got worse."

Laurel brought Buster in to see veterinarian, Dr. Jae Chang, at Prien Lake Animal Hospital in Lake Charles. 

He says he treats lots of cats and dogs with seasonal allergies.

"It can be a whole slew of things, it can be different types of grasses, different types of tree pollen, even dust mites," said Dr. Chang.

Dr. Chang says the signs your pet has seasonal allergies are through skin conditions, skin infections, and recurring ear infections.

Allergy testing through blood work is the only way to know what is causing the problems.

"Once you find out what your dog or cat is allergic to, they'll actually compound those things in the form of oral solutions, where your body kind of gradually acclimates to those allergens," said Dr. Chang.

That has helped with Buster, whose allergen report came back with some unavoidable triggers:

"He's allergic to common things: fleas, grass, trees, certain pollen, it's just stuff that can't be avoided for the area, so we just did what we could as far as allergy drops," said Laurel.

Dr. Chang says there are some steps you can take to minimize the impact of seasonal allergens on your pet: wipe off your cat's or dog's paws after they come in from the outside to reduce pollen.  Frequent baths give complete, immediate relief to an itchy pet and wash away the allergens on the coat and skin. Make sure to use a soap-free shampoo with oatmeal.

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