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Posts Tagged ‘skin allergies’

Is it your imagination, or does your “brachy” dog have more problems than the Labradoodle next door? According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, you are not imagining it.

Let’s break it down:

A dog’s skull falls into one of three categories:
Dolichocephalic, mesaticephalic, or brachycephalic, as illustrated by the photo below.

Click to enlarge. Image can be found at http://www.onemedicine.tuskegee.edu

Brachycephalic (or “brachy”) dogs are those breeds with a flat, broad head. These breeds include —

  • Affenpinscher
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog breeds
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff breeds
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • ShihTzu

Nationwide Pet Insurance compared data for brachycephalic dog breeds versus dogs with longer skull types (dolichocephalic and mesaticephalic) and discovered that the dog breeds known for their flat, broad skulls showed a higher prevalence of certain diseases.

That means that more brachy dogs suffered the following conditions — 

  • otitis externa (ear infection)
  • pyoderma (skin infection)
  • atopic/allergic dermatitis
  • conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • canine cystitis (bladder infection)
  • anal gland impaction
  • fungal skin disease
  • malignant skin neoplasia (cancer)
  • pneumonia

Does this mean you should stay away from brachy breeds? Not necessarily, as they can be very lovable and faithful companions. But according to Norfolk veterinarian Donald Miele, VMD, it does mean that owners of those breeds should be aware of the greater likelihood of health problems, and that veterinary pet insurance is a worthy investment.

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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or suggest treatment for any disease.
Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information on your pet’s health.

 

 

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It’s that time of year again:  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.)

1Keep 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 like Hydra Pearls) 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 and on April 17, 2014.

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Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) released the most common medical claims in 2013 among policyholders who own dogs or cats:

Top Dog Conditions Top Cat Conditions
1. Skin Allergies 1. Bladder or Urinary Tract Disease
2. Ear Infection 2. Periodontitis/Dental Disease
3. Non-cancerous Skin Mass 3. Chronic Kidney Disease
4. Skin Infection 4. Excessive Thyroid Hormone
5. Arthritis 5. Upset Stomach/Vomiting
6. Upset Stomach/Vomiting 6. Diabetes
7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea 7. Intestinal Upset/Diarrhea
8. Periodontitis/Dental Disease 8. Lymphoma
9. Bladder or Urinary Tract Disease 9. Upper Respiratory Infection
10. Soft Tissue Trauma (Bruise or Contusion) 10. Skin Allergies

VPI reveals its policyholders spent more than $66 million treating these conditions. Good thing their pets were insured!

 The cost of care for sudden or chronic disease can be overwhelming.
Protect your pet (and your wallet) with
 pet insurance.

Pet insurance

If your pet is healthy and active, you may not believe that insurance is necessary. But this is actually the best time to buy pet insurance. Here’s why:

*Will you get a telegram announcing that a pet emergency is on the way? No!
Pet injuries and accidents are often unforeseen, which means that your healthy, active pet could suddenly wind up in the emergency hospital with a treatment bill totalling in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Wouldn’t you like to have help footing the bill? Of course you would!

*If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic illness, your insurance options will become limited.
Don’t count on pet insurance companies agreeing to cover pre-existing conditions. Most won’t. Get your pet protected before it develops disease, so that you’ll have help covering the costs of treatment.

Remember: although many illnesses and injuries are unpredictable, it’s a pretty safe bet that the longer your pet lives, the more likely it is to develop an illness — like kidney, liver, or heart disease. You don’t have to handle those long-term care expenses on your own — if you opt to insure your pet before it develops disease.

*Pet insurance premiums tend to be lower for young, healthy pets.
Who doesn’t want to save money these days? And you can opt for coverage for routine care items, such as vaccines, heartworm and flea control, spay/neuter surgery, and annual lab tests. Preventive care is an important part of keeping your pet healthy — and pet insurance can help you pay for that, too!

So where do you start?

Try these three companies, all licensed to insure pets in Virginia:

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Pets Best

Veterinary Pet Insurance

Brochures for all three companies are available at our clinic.

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Part of this article was originally published January 16, 2014.

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P1060187

What is dietary sensitivity?
Dietary sensitivity refers to an adverse reaction to food. There are two types:
Food allergy – an immune reaction to a particular ingredient, usually a protein. A food allergy can be a permanent condition.
Food intolerance – Not all reactions to foods are allergies. Some pets simply cannot tolerate certain foods.

What causes dietary sensitivity?
Food – Common allergens for dogs are beef, dairy, and wheat. Common allergens for cats are beef, dairy, and fish.
Damage – Inflammation, infection, surgery, and some medications can damage the digestive system and lead to dietary sensitivity.
Age – Food intolerance is more common in younger pets, while food allergies are more common in adult pets.
Breed – Some breeds are more likely to have dietary sensitivity, such as Siamese cats, Westies, Cocker Spaniels, and Irish Setters.

What are common signs of dietary sensitivity?

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Frequent scratching and fur loss
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Chronic ear problems
  • Poor growth in young pets
  • Coughing, wheezing, sneezing

Why does the vet recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet?
Hill’s Prescription diets such as d/d, z/d, and z/d ultra are designed to address food allergy and food intolerance symptoms. The ingredients may include novel proteins, to which a pet is less likely to react negatively; essential fatty acids to soothe inflamed skin; or hydrolyzed proteins.

What is the importance of a hydrolyzed protein?
Dogs and cats have histamine receptors that react to foreign particles. Think of your pet’s histamine receptors as Y-shaped, two-pronged instruments. A normal-sized protein can reach across both prongs and set off a histamine reaction, which you may see as red, itchy skin and ears.
Hydrolyzation breaks a protein into tiny pieces that are not big enough to cover two prongs at once, rendering the protein “invisible” to the pet’s histamine receptors. That way, the body won’t trigger an allergic response.

P1060189 (2)

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Information taken from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet “Dietary Sensitivity,” available at our clinic.

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