Recognising Seasonal Allergies

Spring is here and so too are those pesky airborne allergens that hay fever sufferers dread!

It might surprise you that many breeds of cats and dogs are also susceptible to seasonal allergies. Whilst for humans, airborne particles are inhaled and the allergic reaction is presented as sneezing and sniffling, for our pets, airborne particles such as pollens, moulds and dust etc. gain entry to the skin through a defective skin barrier. The immune system becomes inflamed, the itching and scratching begins and the resulting condition is atopic dermatitis (atopy).

Symptoms to Look Out For

There are certain indicators that pet owners can watch for to determine whether seasonal allergies are affecting their furry friend. 

  • Licking Front Feet
    • A classic feature of atopy is licking or chewing the top of the feet or between the toes.
  • Irritated Ear Flaps
    • The non-haired (inside) portion of the ear flap has become greasy, red, thickened and/or smelly.
  • Yeast Infections in the Skin
    • Skin resembles elephant skin or tree bark and frequently becomes smelly, thickened or pigmented (dark). 

Diagnosing Atopic Dermatitis

There are many causes of itchy skin in animals, including food or flea bite allergies, parasites and secondary infection, and in many cases, there are multiple causes in the same animal. To differentiate from these irritants, our veterinarians will use the following criteria to determine whether your pet has an environmental allergy – age of the animal when symptoms began, indoor vs outdoor lifestyle, response to steroids, response to food trials, location of the scratching or infections and, of course, seasonality. 

Diagnosing atopic dermatitis can be a time-consuming process, as often it is a process of elimination to rule out other skin conditions.

Treatment Options

A wide range of medical treatments are available depending on the severity of the symptoms, from topical itch relief to hyposensitisation. Multiple prescription treatments are available including some newer medications that are safer long-term than the traditional steroid anti-inflammatories. Home remedies include supplements, antihistamines and therapeutic shampoos. Removing common allergens from the environment by way of washing bedding regularly, keeping your pet away from known triggers in the garden and at the park, and feeding diets designed for allergy and skin management will also help reduce the likelihood and severity of atopy.

It is important to remember that results may differ for each individual patient but the goal of healthy comfortable skin can usually be achieved. 

Predisposed Breeds

Unfortunately, there are some breeds that are genetically predisposed to developing atopy. In dogs, this includes Staffordshire Terriers, Golden Retrievers, West Highland White Terriers, Shar Peis, Labrador Retrievers, Cairn Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Boxers and Pugs and in cats, atopy is more prevalent in oriental breeds including Siamese.

If your moggy or pooch is one of the breeds listed above or is showing signs of being itchy and uncomfortable, be sure to keep a close eye on them and take note of any change in their skin condition and behaviour. 

Give our friendly team a call on (08) 9277 7488 to discuss how we can tailor a treatment plan for your pet or complete our online enquiry form to book an appointment with one of our experienced veterinarians.


Why choose us?

At Ascot Vet, we understand that your pet is a cherished member of your family. Our experienced and genuine staff are passionate about providing compassionate and personalised care to every pet who walks through our doors. Our owners are actively involved in the practice, creating an environment focused on the needs of our clients and their pets.

We prioritise transparency and offer a range of treatment options tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Our dedicated team will work with you to develop a customised treatment plan that provides the best care possible.

We also understand that a visit to the vet can be stressful. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience for both you and your pet. Whether your pet needs a routine check-up, surgery, or emergency care, you can trust that they are in good hands with our compassionate team.

We look forward to welcoming you and your furry family members to our practice.

Trust Ascot Vet for Exceptional Care