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Dogs Get Spring Allergies Too!

Many people love to see the first signs of spring. However, for people with allergies, these signs mean they will have a hard time breathing. If you suffer from allergies each spring, it might surprise you to learn that you might not be alone if you own a dog. Our canine companions also can get seasonal allergies that may cause them some discomfort. Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital has been helping to relieve those uncomfortable symptoms in the dogs of East Nashville since 2011. Now, we would like to tell you more about how you can tell if your dog has problems with allergies. Also, how we can help him to feel better.

What types of spring allergies can dogs have?

While the most common allergy found in dogs has to do with fleas, your dog can also be affected by environmental allergies, or “atopy.” This allergy issue causes itchy skin can be triggered in the spring by weeds, trees, and grass pollen. According to VetStreet, studies have shown that up to 10 percent of dogs will suffer from itchy skin and other symptoms throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

How do I know if my dog is suffering from spring allergies?

You may think you need to look out for your dog to be sneezing with watery eyes. On the contrary, seasonal allergy symptoms tend to be more along the lines of itchy skin. Have you noticed your dog scratching and licking himself? If so, he most likely is suffering from environmental allergies. Other symptoms include secondary ear and skin infections.

How can my dog be treated to relieve his spring allergies?

It is important to bring your dog into see us at 5 Points Animal Hospital whenever you see him scratching more than usual. We can properly diagnose exactly which allergy is causing the problem. This is key in finding the best treatment for that specific allergen. The most commonly used treatment method for atopy is desensitization, or allergy shots. You can trust our staff to comfortably and safely administer the initial series of shots. As the frequency of these shots starts tapering, we will teach you how to give your dog the shots at home. According to VetStreet, 60 percent of affected dogs respond well to this treatment. If your dog is in need of an alternative to that treatment, we do have other options, including antihistamines and stronger immune-modulators.

Have you been noticing your dog scratching more than usual? Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for an allergy test to find out the best treatment for your dog!

The Importance of Proper Dog Hygiene

When you own a dog, keeping him clean should be a very important part of your routine. You want your pet to be comfortable and healthy. Good hygiene plays a big role in achieving this goal! Our staff at 5 Points Animal Hospital is often asked about the best hygiene routines for dogs. So, now we would like to share with you a few tips on how to easily keep your dog’s ears, teeth, and skin clean. Following these maintenance practices will make your dog happy and prevent future health problems.

EARS

Keeping your dog’s ears clean is essential. It prevents parasites as well as bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections, according to VetInfo. 5 Points Animal Hospital can recommend a mild cleaning solution you can use once a week. You will squeeze a bit of the solution into your dog’s ears and then massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds. Wipe away any excess solution and discharge with a cotton pad. Never stick anything far into your dog’s ear canal to avoid damaging the eardrum.

TEETH

Starting a daily dental routine with your dog is important to keep infection and inflammation from developing into periodontal disease. Choose a dog toothbrush that fits his mouth comfortably. You might find that a finger comb is easier to use. Beginning with the back teeth, use circular motions to scrub the teeth and gums. You will want to keep these teeth cleanings as short as possible to keep your dog comfortable. Always use positive praise to help your dog learn to enjoy this routine.

SKIN AND FUR

Skin infections, such as hot spots, can make your dog miserable. Insect bites, allergies, wet and matted hair, and excessive scratching can all lead to both irritations and wounds. These can become infected. Knowing how to maintain your dog’s skin and fur can prevent these problems. You should keep your dog trimmed and groomed, especially during the summer months when it is hot, to avoid knotted and matted hair.

While bathing your dog regularly is important, you should only bathe your dog once a month as frequent baths can cause dry and itchy skin, which can become infected more easily. After giving your dog a bath, make sure you dry him off completely. Nutrition is very important in maintaining a healthy coat and skin, so make sure you are feeding your dog a balanced diet. 5 Points Animal Hospital can help you find the right food for your dog, and we can also recommend the best flea and tick prevention medicine to keep your pet safe from insect bites.

A clean dog is a happy and healthy dog. February is Pet Dental Health Month. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for a professional teeth cleaning this month and save 15 percent as part of our celebration of this month.

Your Pets Get Allergies Too!

If you’re grouped among the 35 million-plus Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, it’s not news to you that the allergy season is one of the more unpleasant times of the year. Your nose knows it’s true and so do your eyes, chest, head and maybe even your ears. Sneezing, congestion, runny nose and itchiness are the common symptoms with which you’re forced to contend. Did you know your pets could suffer from seasonal allergies just as you do? It is estimated that over half of pet owners aren’t aware that the fuzzy members of their family can also spend portions of the year feeling miserable thanks to pollen and other environmental allergens.

Your Pets Get Allergies - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

What exactly are allergies anyway?

An allergy is a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular substance called an allergen. Most allergens are proteins; with allergies, the immune response can actually be harmful to the body. The allergen protein can be of insect, plant or animal origin. Exposure to the allergen, usually on multiple occasions, sensitizes the immune system, and a subsequent exposure to the same or related allergen causes an over-reaction. Normally the immune response protects your pet against infection and disease, but with allergies, the immune response can actually be harmful to the body.

Different Pet Allergy Categories

There are primarily two types of allergies: food allergies and environmental allergies. If your pets get itchy during spring, summer or fall, they’re probably reacting to seasonal, environmental allergens. But if their symptoms continue year-round, it’s more likely that the sensitivity is to something more constant within their environment or to something in their diet. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a hard freeze in the winter, environmental allergens can build up and cause year-round issues for your pet. In addition, seasonal allergies can progress to year-round allergies.

Warning Signs of Pet Allergies

Whereas allergy symptoms in humans usually involve the respiratory tract, allergies in dogs and cats more often take the form of skin irritation or inflammation—a condition called allergic dermatitis. If pet allergies are present, you can expect their skin to become very itchy. They’ll start scratching excessively, and might bite or chew at certain areas of the body. They may rub themselves against vertical surfaces like furniture or may rub their face against the carpet, all the while trying to relieve the miserable itchiness by any means possible.

As the itch-scratch cycle continues, the skin will become inflamed and tender to the touch. Other signs can include localized hair loss, open skin sores, and scabbing. Hot spots—inflamed, infected skin that occurs when your pet’s natural bacteria overwhelms an area of skin, typically associated with very red skin, and often bleeding and hair loss—can develop as well (more typically in dogs than in cats).

Pets with allergies also tend to have ear problems. Their ear canals may be itchy and inflamed or may grow infected with yeast or bacteria. Signs your pet’s ears are giving him problems include scratching at the ears, head shaking, and hair loss around the ears. If infection is present, there will often be odor and a discharge from the ears. Another warning sign to watch for is generalized redness. Pets suffering from allergies often have puffy red eyes, red oral tissue, a red chin, red paws and even a red anus.

To date, the only reliable way to diagnose environmental allergies in dogs and cats is through intradermal (skin) testing. Commercial blood tests for canines and felines are available, but have proven controversial due to inaccurate results. Depending on the nature of your pet’s allergic reaction, your veterinarian will be able to assist you in controlling the long-term effects. Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies. Our goal is to reduce the severity of the symptoms through preventive measures and by eliminating allergens wherever possible.

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5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now