Posts Tagged ‘allergies’

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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