Could My Pet Be Suffering From Seasonal Allergies?

(Photo by Chinda Sam)

A Note From Dr. John:

Springtime is fast-approaching.  That means sunshine, warmer temps, and ALLERGENS.  If your pets are anything like mine, they could suffer from more than just one allergy.  In fact, your pet could have reactions to multiple allergens- weeds, grasses, insects, etc.  Most of the time, allergies are mild with signs such as itchy skin, runny eyes, and sneezing.  Clinical signs can last several hours to several months depending on your pet.  

There are multiple treatment options, such as steroids and antihistamines, that have been proven effective in treating allergies.  Steroids include Prednisone and Prednisolone. Both are generally administered on a tapered dose and have similar side effects such as increased appetite, thirst, and urination.  Keep in mind that steroids will require a prescription from your veterinarian.  Examples of antihistamines are Vetadryl (Benadryl), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), and Chlorpheniramine.  Antihistamines can either be administered on a daily basis or as needed for flare ups.  These medications can be purchased over the counter and do not require a prescription from your veterinarian. 

Other allergic reactions are much more severe and necessitate immediate medical attention.  Signs of a severe allergic reaction include hives (red spots on your pet’s skin), facial swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and collapse.  The best approach to severe allergic reactions is to get to your veterinarian as soon as possible.  For long-term care, identifying allergens that set off the reaction is vital to help avoid a serious reaction in the future. 

Our information is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.  Do not use this information for diagnostic purposes. Always take your pet to your veterinarian to obtain a diagnosis and course of treatment.