Posts Tagged ‘pollen’

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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     In this installment of the Under the ‘Scope series, we will examine a common pseudoparasite found on fecal exams.

What in the world???

     What is a pseudoparasite?  Simply put, it’s somethin’ that looks like somethin’, but it’s nothin’.  Why is that important? you may be asking.  Good question!  Excellent question!  You’re going straight to the top, young lady (or man.)

     One must always be able to distinguish between actual parasites and those items that only appear troublesome. The pseudo (or “false”) parasites need not be treated with medication of any kind. We believe it is equally important to know when not to medicate, so your pet’s body is not absorbing a drug it doesn’t need.

What ARE these things? Click to enlarge.

     So what are these creepy little things that look like bug eyes?  They’re pollen spores.  Here’s another type of spore:

Pollen spore

     In large groups, these spores will turn your white car yellow.  Heck, they’ll turn your black car yellow and do the same thing to your dog. 

     If your pet has a pollen allergy, we recommend wiping its coat with a damp cloth after it has been outdoors.  Even non-allergic pets can get a bellyache if they swallow a large amount of pollen while self-grooming.  So, just to be safe, wipe them down, too.  ~~  Jen

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