Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

In Part 1, we focused on common eye problems in dogs. Today, we’re switching to the ears!

Beagle profile

What’s going on beneath that soft, velvety ear flap?

By Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

Common Dog Ear Infections & Problems
Like dog eye infections, problems with your dog’s ears can range from something to keep an eye on to an issue that requires veterinarian care. The more knowledge you have, the more accurately you’ll be able to decipher between the two.

Dog Ear Infections
All dogs occasionally lift one of their hind legs to scratch their ears or head. But if your dog profusely scratches her ears, frequently shakes her head, or has hair loss around her ears, it’s time to take a closer look. Here’s why: itchy or irritated ears can lead to a nasty ear infection. Itchy ears can be caused by a flea bite, environmental sources, a yeast infection, or a food allergy.

An ear infection occurs when your dog’s ears get inflamed with wax and discharge. This happens when naturally occurring yeast and bacteria overwhelms her immune system and she can’t control the infection. Treatments for an ear infection will vary depending on the cause. Allergies can be complicated to manage and it’s best to seek your veterinarian’s input.

Cleaning your dog’s ears every week is a proactive way to keep them healthy and prevent potential issues. It’s worth noting that dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections due to dust, dirt, and moisture getting trapped in their ears and forming bacteria.

Ear Mites
Ear mites in dogs occur when tiny parasites feed on the wax and oil inside your pets’ ears. Dogs that are outside frequently are most likely to get ear mites, but once your pup comes inside ear mites can easily travel from one animal to another through close contact or shared bedding.

If your dog has ear mites, she will most likely scratch and rub her ears. Additionally, her ears will emit a foul odor and possibly have a build-up of dark debris inside. Continual scratching of the ears can cause cuts and redness in that area.

Ear mites are not something to ignore. They live in your dog’s ear canal and reproduce rapidly. So if you see white specks in your dog’s ears or suspect your dog has ear mites, schedule an appointment with your vet to address the situation. Your vet will thoroughly clean your dog’s ears and most likely apply an anti-parasitic medication. The best way to prevent ear mites is to regularly clean your dog’s ears as well as frequently wash their bedding.


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Torsten Detlaff via Pexels

About the author: Dr. Chris Roth is the resident veterinarian and pet health writer at Pets Best Insurance. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Kansas State University, as well as a degree in biology. Over his 29 years practicing General Veterinary Medicine, including owning and managing two veterinary practices, Dr. Roth has accrued a wealth of experience and specialized training in advanced Small Animal Orthopedics as well as maintaining an AVMA membership, Fear Free Veterinary Practice certification, and Idaho Veterinary Medical and Board of Pharmacy licensure. Among other experience, he has also held a role as an E.L.I.T.E. field consultant for Advanced Sedation and Pain Management for Zoetis Animal Health, formerly Pfizer Animal Health. 

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Guest Post: Cat Eye Problems: All You Need To Know
By Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
Original article and links found here.

Discovering that your cat is squinting in one eye or that the cat’s eyes are red around the edges can be disheartening – nobody wants to see their furry friends suffer and feel uncomfortable, especially since the eyes are such a delicate part of their body.
Cat eye problems are one of the most common health issues that felines face and they can cause permanent damage in a relatively short time if left untreated.

That is why it’s so vital that you keep an “eye out” for any cat eye problems and know how to recognize the most common symptoms that could be a cause for alarm.

Are your cat’s eyes the picture of good health?

Warning Signs of Cat Eye Problems
Even though cat eye issues can be dangerous, the good news is that in most cases, you can spot them rather quickly and ensure that you provide your cat with treatment early.
If your cat is living indoors-only, it might not be as likely to develop eye problems as an outdoor cat because it’s less exposed to feral cats and diseases that they may carry,¹ but there are still risks.
Even a relatively small cat eye injury can become infected, and you may soon start noticing your cat squinting their eyes and trying to clean them.
If you notice that your cat’s eyes suddenly become runny, with colorless or even yellow or green discharge, you can be fairly certain that your cat has either a viral or a bacterial infection.² Especially if the discharge is followed by redness and respiratory symptoms, which will require urgent treatment to avoid complications.
If your cat is squinting in one or both eyes, this can also indicate an infection. Even if no other symptoms are present.
Finally, keep an eye out for your cat scratching at their eyes which may indicate a severe issue.

Common Cat Eye Problems
Since cats aren’t always vocal or expressive about health issues and may act more or less normal even when not feeling too well, you will need to look for behavioral changes which could indicate problems.
Luckily, issues involving your cat’s eyes are usually readily apparent and obvious. A simple examination of your cat’s eyes to look for irritation, redness, or squinting can be sure signs of an issue.
But what are some of the more common eye problems that cats suffer from?
One of the most common issues is conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the eye which can cause runny eyes, swelling inside of the eye, and redness. Cat pink eye is usually a result of a viral or bacterial infection and may appear at the same time as an upper respiratory system infection.
Another common eye issue is a corneal ulcer. An ulcer can develop from an injury, because of a genetic abnormality, or even from an infection that isn’t treated promptly.³ The most common symptom of a corneal ulcer in a cat is a cloudy eye. However, it is usually accompanied by rubbing of the eyes, redness, as well as more severe discomfort for the cat.
Other common cat eye problems include irritation from allergies or various environmental factors, as well as more serious eye issues such as cataracts or glaucoma.

What Causes Cat Eye Problems?
There are a wide range of reasons that can cause cats to develop eye problems. It’s essential to know the most common cat eye issues and what symptoms to look for. It is also important to understand the causes of these issues so that you can try to prevent them from developing in your furry friends.
For instance, conjunctivitis is most frequently caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, but there are other ways it can develop, too. It can be caused by non-infectious issues due to hereditary factors, traits of certain breeds, allergies, or tumors.²
A corneal ulcer, which often appears as a cloudy eye in a cat, is commonly the result of an injury. Whether your kitty accidentally rubbed their eye against something too strongly, or became injured by a foreign object or during a skirmish with another cat, the result will often be an ulcer that will need to be treated immediately.
Irritation, itchiness, and redness are usually caused by environmental factors such as allergies, chemicals, or a range of other factors. So it’s important to consult with a vet to determine the cause.
As for more serious conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, they can develop because of a genetic predisposition to these problems.[4,5] For cats, however, it more commonly is the result of an infection or trauma.

Eye Problem Treatment
If you notice something wrong with your cat’s eyes, it’s important to act fast. These issues will likely require diagnosis and treatment. The longer your cat goes without treatment, the greater the chance of the symptoms becoming more severe. The good news is that as long as you act quickly, the better the chance is that your cat will make a full recovery.
Issues like conjunctivitis or corneal ulcers may be treated with antibiotics since they are often caused or at least followed by an infection. In other circumstances, your vet may prescribe eye drops to reduce irritation and help the eyes heal.
In the case of glaucoma, it’s crucial to drain the fluid to relieve eye pressure as quickly as possible. This will not only reduce the discomfort and pain your cat is feels, but it will also help minimize the long-term negative effects.
Finally, your vet might not prescribe any treatment and simply recommend your cat rest to allow the issue to heal on its own. It is important to allow a licensed veterinarian to make a treatment decision like this and to never try to diagnose your pet on your own. This will ensure you pet receives the best treatment available.
And if you want to have peace of mind knowing that your cat will always have the best treatment options in case it develops eye problems, check out Pets Best’s Cat Insurance which offers complete coverage for your pet. Call us at 1-877-738-7237 today, and we’ll help you find a plan that works best for your individual needs.

1 American Humane (2016, August 25). Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/indoor-cats-vs-outdoor-cats/
2 Ward, E. (2009). Conjunctivitis in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/conjunctivitis-in-cats
3 Ward, E. (2017). Corneal Ulcers in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/corneal-ulcers-in-cats
4 McLellan, G.J., & Miller, P.E. (2011). Feline glaucoma: A comprehensive review. Veterinary Ophthalmology, 14(1), 15-29. doi:10.1111/j.1463-5224.2011.00912.x
5 PetMD.com (2019). Cataracts in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/eye/c_ct_cataract

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Mark your calendars!

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Pet Week®
May 1-7
First full week of May starting with a Sunday

Be Kind to Animals Week
May 1-7

First full week of May starting with a Sunday

National Specially-abled Pets Day
May 3

National Ferret Day
May 5

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
May 14
Second Saturday in May

International Migratory Bird Day
May 14
Second Saturday in May

Endangered Species Day
May 20
Third Friday in May

National Dog Bite Prevention Week®
May 15-21
Third full week of May starting with a Sunday

International Turtle Day
May 23

National Heat Awareness Day
May 23

National Hurricane Preparedness Week
TBD

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It’s that time of year again:  When my red car turns yellow, it means the pollen count is elevated and allergy season is upon us.

At our veterinary clinic, we’re seeing dogs and cats with itchy ears, faces, bellies, feet and rumps – not to mention the dreaded “hot spots.” Add dry, flaky skin, fur loss, excessive licking and chewing (especially at the feet), scabs, and fleas and you’ve got one unhappy furbaby. To make matters worse, damaged skin is prone to bacterial “staph” infections, which can be difficult to eradicate.

There are some things you can do at home to ease your pet’s allergy symptoms, especially in the case of allergens which are inhaled or absorbed through the skin (known as atopy.)

1. Keep your pet’s skin moisturized – from the outside. Dry skin allows allergens to more easily pass through the skin barrier and cause itching. Use a rehydrating shampoo (we recommend HyLyt Shampoo) plus a separate conditioning rinse or spray.

Allow the shampoo to contact your pet’s skin for 10-15 minutes. That is forever in dog-bathing time, but that’s what it takes for the shampoo to be effective.

If the shampoo is the non-lather kind (many are) don’t add more; doing so will just make rinsing it out all the more difficult. Which brings us to the next tip:

Rinse your pet’s coat thoroughly, to remove all soap. Follow with a cream rinse or leave-on conditioning spray (such as Dermal Soothe Spray.)

2. Keep your pet’s skin moisturized – from the inside. Ask your vet about powder or capsule-type Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplements, like Free Form Snip Tips. Skip the fish oil supplements designed for human use; your pet has its own EFA requirements that can’t be met with a human product.

3. Rinse your pet with plain water to remove allergens, daily if necessary. Most pets won’t need a full-blown sudsy bath daily or even weekly. But a cool water rinse can help take the heat off, as well as physically remove pollens that can cause your pet to itch. If a daily rinse is not realistic, try targeting your pet’s problem areas with a damp cloth, especially after your pet has been outdoors.

4. Apply your pet’s monthly flea treatment every month, even if you aren’t seeing fleas (which means the treatment is working!) For a hyper-allergic pet, a single flea bite can touch off a serious inflammatory response.

For more complex issues, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary. Your vet may also suggest a six-month elimination diet to rule in or out food allergies. A trip to the veterinary dermatologist may also be in order, especially for young animals that will be dealing with lifelong allergy problems.

If your pet is suffering from allergy symptoms, schedule a vet visit to get recommendations and treatments tailor-made for your dog or cat. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating allergic pets, so be prepared for some amount of experimentation to see which method gives your pet the most relief.

Est. 1973

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NOTE: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any diseases, or take the place of a client-patient-veterinarian relationship. If you have questions about your pet’s health, your veterinarian will be your best source of information.

This post originally appeared on August 27, 2013.

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P1090169

Bayer Animal Health, the makers of Advantage II flea control products have amassed many years of research, trial and error, to develop the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Flea Control (as I call it.)

They are:

1. Treat all cats and dogs in the home.
Why? Because cats and dogs can get fleas from each other or from an infested environment.

2. Apply Advantage II once a month, every month, all year-round.
Why? Because flea infestation can be a year-round problem —  especially in a region such as ours, which does not experience a deep freeze in the winter.

3. Choose the correct product for your cat or dog.
Why? Because products for different species and weight bands deliver different volumes of the flea treatment.

4. Use one tube per cat or dog; be sure to apply the tube’s entire contents.
Why? Because each tube is designed to be one full application for one animal only.

View application videos for cats and dogs.

5. See package insert for complete product and application instructions; read instructions carefully to be sure you apply the product correctly.*
Why? Because different products have different application sites; in order to aid distribution, the product must be applied directly to the skin on the correct application site.

Bayer recommends a soap-free shampoo like HyLyt.

6. Keep pets separated immediately after application.
Why? Because pets could groom the product off each other if they’re not separated.

7. Continue to use the product on a monthly schedule.
Why? Because treating monthly, all year-round helps prevent flea reinfestation.

*Your best source of information for proper flea control application is your veterinarian and staff. You won’t get extra tips and information (which is not always listed on product inserts) when you buy flea control at the store or online. On your next visit to our clinic, ask us what else you need to know about proper flea product use.

Bonus tip: Also treat the house and yard for the best protection against fleas.

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This post originally appeared on August 29, 2013.

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Few things are as unsettling to pet owners as discovering a medical condition which had not been in evidence a day or only hours earlier.   

Ear Flap Hematoma

Click to enlarge.

 

One problem that seems to arise quite suddenly is an ear flap hematoma.  A hematoma is the accumulation of blood and serum between the cartilage and skin of the dog’s or cat’s ear flap.  The resultant swelling causes the ear to look like a floppy balloon or a pillow.   

Did you know? Another word for “ear flap” is pinna.

A  hematoma of the ear flap often arises as the result of trauma, whether caused by the pet’s vigorous head shaking, scratching the ear, or smacking the ear on a hard surface when shaking the head.  The head shaking and scratching have their own underlying causes:  fleasear mites, ear infections, or debris collecting on the eardrum.

This ear mite could be the cause of your pet's itchy ears -- and lead to an ear flap hematoma. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

This ear mite could be the cause of your pet’s itchy ears — and lead to an ear flap hematoma.
Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

After the underlying cause of the hematoma has been addressed, the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment for the swollen ear.  A combination of medication, aspiration of the fluid, or surgical repair may be recommended. 

Ear flap hematomas can recur after medication or aspiration, though rarely after surgical intervention.  If medication-only treatment is chosen due to economic circumstances or because the pet is a poor anesthesia risk, the hematoma will usually resolve over a number of weeks.  Patience is key in this instance, and the veterinarian will want to monitor the ear for progress.

A hematoma is unlikely to resolve itself without medical intervention.  For your pet’s sake, keep in mind that a swollen ear flap can be painful, and it can cause your pet to tilt its head to one side constantly or dig at the ear and worsen the problem. If you suspect your pet has an ear flap hematoma, be sure to seek treatment early, for the best results.

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Originally posted on November 2, 2010.

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Q: Is your pet at risk for any of the following:

A) Fleas
B) Ticks
C) Worms
D) All of the above

A: All of the above (and they ALL can be tough to spot!)

Schedule your pet’s annual checkup today to be sure
your pet is healthy!

Is your dog very tired? Is your cat eating less than usual? These seemingly minor changes may mean your pet has a flea allergy, an internal parasite infection, or a tick-related disease.

Let’s talk about fleas first. The majority of pets don’t have fleas—but many have been bitten because fleas are everywhere! Yes, fleas live outdoors but they can live indoors too – even in really clean homes – year-round in any climate. Fleas will gladly hitch a ride on your pet into your house. And all it takes is one flea bite (specifically the flea’s saliva), to set off a full-blown skin allergy. Pets may scratch their sides and neck, or even lick their paws until they’re red and painful. What pet wants to move around or eat when feeling this miserable?

Internal parasites (such as worms) can infect your pet in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if your pet has them. But left untreated, worms can be dangerous to your pet’s internal organs. They can even cause your pet to lose blood.

Ticks are tricky. Even when you check your pet for ticks they can be tough to find because they’re small and hide well in dark fur. But it’s crucial to find ticks and remove them quickly. Why? Some ticks carry bacteria that cause disease (such as Lyme disease, but there are many others). And all you need is one undetected tick bite for your pet to become infected. They can become sick and develop kidney problems. At times, these diseases can be fatal.

Ugh! Is there any good news?

Yes!

We’re here to help when it comes to flea allergies, tick and internal parasite checks. Even if your pet is on regular monthly preventive, it is still important for us to make sure your pet is healthy.

Make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkup today – we’ll give them a thorough physical exam from nose to tail. Let’s also confirm the prevention you’re using is right for your pet!

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  1. Bedlington terrier
  2. Devon Rex cat
  3. Irish water spaniel
  4. Italian greyhound
  5. Javanese cat
  6. Labradoodle
  7. Labrador retriever
  8. Maltese
  9. Schnauzer
  10. Yorkshire terrier

So what makes the breeds listed “allergen-friendly”? They “tend to be smaller, are known to shed less or not shed, and possess shorter coats or fur that produces less dander.” ¹  Labradors are the exception, though; they made the cut because they are considered frequent swimmers that “limit allergen concentrations in their hair.” ²

The list was compiled as the Allergen All-Star Pet Awards, by Kaz, Inc., which manufactures the Doctor’s Choice True HEPA Air Purifier.

¹ “11 pets suggested for allergy sufferers,” Veterinary Practice News, April 2014, p. 22.
²  Ibid.

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Rodent ulcer 1

Rodent ulcer in a 16-year-old cat, pre-treatment. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

If your cat shows up with a fat lip and she hasn’t been in a fistfight lately, she may have a rodent ulcer. Rodent ulcers (like the one shown above) typically appear on the upper lip, usually as a small swelling. Over time, and with frequent licking, the area can enlarge and ulcerate.

Rodent ulcer 2

Rodent ulcer in a 16-year-old cat, 13 days after beginning treatment. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Rodent ulcers, also known as eosinophilic ulcers, are the result of eosinophils gone wild. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that releases biochemicals in response to an allergy or the presence of parasites. Sometimes, the biochemicals released by the “eos” attack the cat’s own tissue instead of an invading foreign body. The target area of the eos’ action becomes inflamed and sore.

Rodent ulcer 3

Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Rodent ulcers can be difficult to resolve. Anti-inflammatory medications may be called for. Recently, some veterinarians have begun using allergy medication with limited success. The patient in these photos was treated with a combination of medications, including an allergy drug, with immediate results. The patient’s ulcer reduced in size and the lip swelling decreased.

Rodent ulcer 4

Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Stubborn cases of rodent ulcer may require biopsy (to rule out cancer) and further study, including parasite treatments and food trials.  

If you notice a sore or swollen area on your cat’s lips or tongue, have your veterinarian check it out. Early treatment may help prevent permanent disfigurement.

Tip: remove plastic food and water bowls and plastic toys, as they can be irritants to cats sensitive to plastics.

 

 

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Few things are as unsettling to pet owners as discovering a medical condition which had not been in evidence a day or only hours earlier.   


      One problem that seems to arise quite suddenly is an ear flap hematoma.  A hematoma is the accumulation of blood and serum between the cartilage and skin of the dog’s or cat’s ear flap.  The resultant swelling causes the ear to look like a floppy balloon or a pillow.   

    A  hematoma of the ear often arises as the result of trauma, whether caused by the pet’s vigorous head shaking, scratching the ear, or smacking the ear on a hard surface when shaking the head.  The head shaking and scratching have their own underlying causes:  fleas, ear mites, ear infections, or debris collecting on the eardrum.

     After the underlying cause of the hematoma has been addressed, the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment for the swollen ear.  A combination of medication, aspiration of the fluid, or surgical repair may be recommended. 

     Ear flap hematomas can recur after medication or aspiration, though rarely after surgical intervention.  If medication-only treatment is chosen due to economic circumstances or because the pet is a poor anesthesia risk, the hematoma will usually resolve over a number of weeks.  Patience is key in this instance, and the veterinarian will want to monitor the ear for progress.

     A hematoma is unlikely to resolve itself absent medical intervention.  For your pet’s sake, keep in mind that a swollen ear flap can be painful, and it can cause your pet to tilt its head to one side constantly or dig at the ear and worsen the problem. If you suspect your pet has an ear flap hematoma, be sure to seek treatment early, for the best results.
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This article was originally posted on November 2, 2010.

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