Springtime signals high pollen levels and for those who are susceptible to allergic rhinitis (hay fever), the warm weather and sunny days can be partnered with a runny nose and watering eyes.
Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) spokesperson, Dr Robert Johnson said that while humans tend to get a runny nose and eyes from human hayfever, dog hayfever tends to present with itchy skin or ear problems, possibly exacerbated by their propensity to stick their nose into just about anything. Symptoms of cat hayfever are similar, with some (adorable) sneezing added to the mix.
Symptoms of pet hayfever
Hayfever dog symptoms and symptoms of cat hayfever are quite similar in terms of what to look for.
“Dogs and cats are more prone to skin irritation during the spring months and they’ll persistently scratch, lick, or bite to get relief,” says Dr Johnson.
“It’s important to take your pet to the vet as soon as they start showing signs, as constant scratching can lead to sores, hair loss, and secondary infections. The ear canal is essentially a rolled up tube of skin and if that gets inflamed it can lead to nasty infections.
“Cats get their own form of asthma which is usually allergen related. In fact, researchers in Edinburgh have published evidence that some cats may be allergic to humans, which is very ironic!”
The AVA suggests that other possible signs of allergy to watch for include:
- Chewing at the feet. (Dogs don’t groom themselves like cats do, so if a dog is licking at its feet, it’s probably very itchy.)
- Rubbing of the face.
- Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections.
Source: Compilation Land
Treating pets with hayfever
If your four-legged friend does develop hay fever, what can you do? Cat and dog hay fever treatment options include allergen-specific immunotherapy with an allergy vaccine (needle shots to desensitise them to the allergens), diet modification to eliminate anything they eat that is bad for them, and medicated shampoo to ease the itching with mild anaesthetic and antiseptic to clean any scratch wounds. Avoiding the source of the allergen is obviously the best treatment, but it is easier said than done. Keeping your pets inside during days of high pollen count and keeping your dog on the lead when out walking can help, too.
What if your pet requires a trip to the vet to sort out that pesky hayfever and prescribe medications or other treatments? Depending on the cover you choose, pet insurance can help cover the cost of the vet bill and medications or other pet hayfever treatments.
Source: eHow Pets