Humans aren’t the only one affected by allergies. Your dog or cat can suffer from allergic reactions to any number of things — in the air, on their skin and in their food. Allergies must be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian, but first, you must know what to look for.
Common signs and symptoms of allergies
persistent scratching, licking and skin chewing
face and ear rubbing
inflamed skin patches, hair loss and foul odor
coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose
frequent vomiting or diarrhea
The most common allergy symptoms are the skin reactions, regardless of the cause. And they can they can crop up at any age. Just because your pet didn’t have allergies as a puppy or kitten, doesn’t mean your dog or cat won’t have them now that they are adults.
Four of the most common types of dog and cat allergies
Inhalant allergies (atopy – reactions to specific allergens such as pollens) in pets are caused by the same common allergens that affect humans — dust, grass, trees, mold, pollen, ragweed, etc. Allergies can be seasonal or persistent and skin reactions are most common. Atopy can often be treated with the same medications you take, but please don’t treat your pet’s allergies without veterinary supervision.
Signs of inhalant allergies include:
• Chewing on the feet
• Constant licking of the flank and groin area
• Rubbing of the face
• Inflamed ears or recurring ear infections
• Recurring hot spots in dogs and pinpoint facial scabbing in cats
• Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more common in cats)
Contact & Flea Allergies
Less common allergies include contact dermatitis, which can include allergic reactions to carpets, cleaners, or plastic. These allergies may cause:
• Red itchy bumps or blisters on sparsely-haired areas of the skin and the belly, feet, or muzzle
• Intense scratching
• Hair loss (in chronic conditions)
Contact and flea allergies generally cause skin irritation and are treated topically. You might be surprised to learn that most cats are only vaguely bothered by fleas. But those that are allergic can suffer — and so can their owners. Cats with contact and flea allergies often chew their skin raw, leading to hair loss, odor and infection, so fastidious flea control is a must.
Food allergies account for about 10-15% of all allergies in dogs and cats. They can be the most difficult to diagnose and manage. Treatment involves a hit-and-miss approach involving a restricted diet and the gradual reintroduction of possible allergens to determine the culprit. Skin reactions to food allergies are common, but frequent vomiting or diarrhea can also be a sign. Keep in mind that if there is a change in your pet’s diet (or your pet just ate something it wasn’t supposed to), your dog or cat may experience an episode of vomiting or diarrhea — this doesn’t necessarily mean your pet has an allergy. Watch your pet and see if it becomes a persistent problem. If it does, then schedule an appointment with our vet clinic.
Food allergies may show up along with with allergies to pollen, dust, etc. Symptoms include:
• Itching, especially face, feet, trunk, legs and anal area
• Ear problems
• Skin infections that respond to antibiotics, but then recur as soon as the antibiotic therapy ceases
Occasionally, pets with true food allergies may have increased bowel movements and soft stool. Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerances, which are not true allergies, and generally cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Watching your pet go through the misery of allergy symptoms is not fun. If you suspect your pet has allergies, visit our pet clinic. The type of allergy and severity of the symptoms will determine how our veterinarian, Dr. Adney decides to treat them.
Less common, but more severe allergic reactions include:
• facial swelling
• Anaphylaxis (A rare, life-threatening, immediate allergic reaction to something ingested or injected.)
These symptoms usually appear within 20 minutes of being exposed to the allergen, which can include drugs, chemicals, insect bites, or something eaten.
If your pet has a history of a severe allergic reaction, Dr. Adney will be happy to discuss various options with you.
Allergies can vary from pet to pet, so it is important that you work with Dr. Adney, our vet here at Day and Evening Pet Clinic, to make sure YOUR pet gets the best possible treatment. Call us at 727-785-7200 and let us help your dog or cat at the first sign of allergies. You and your pet will both be happy you did.
Working up a good sweat in the hot summer is good for humans, but getting over heated can lead to heatstroke in dogs and cats and can be fatal to your pet.
Your pet does not sweat like a human and outdoor temperatures and humidity levels can rise quickly in the Spring and Summer. The normal body temperature for your pet ranges from 99.5 to 102.5 degrees. When your pet gets over heated and thire temperature rises several degrees above normal, your pet risks heat exhaustion. At over 107 degrees heatstroke can cause major permanent damage and can even be fatal.
Heatstroke can cause nervous system problems. Your pet can suffer from cramping, extreme weakness, total collapse or even go into a coma.
An abnormally high body temperature [hyperthermia] starts when increased muscular activity occurs and your pet has impaired ability to cool down due to high heat and high humidity environments. This condition can be avoided by taking the proper precautions to protect your pet.
“If your pet exhibits any of the following signs of heatstroke, treat it as an emergency and bring your pet to our vet clinic immediately,” said Dr. Kevin Adney, veterinarian at Day And Evening Pet Clinic in Palm Harbor, Florida. You can help by using cool water to wet down your pet and providing cool water for your pet to drink if the pet is conscious and their breathing is not impaired.
The Warning Signs Of Heatstroke In Your Pet
1 – Weakness
2 – Rapid Panting
3 – Dizziness
4 – Bright Red Tongue
5 – Vomiting / cramping
6 – Thick, sticky saliva
7 – Diarrhea
8 – Depression
9 – Shock
10 – Coma
Prevention Of Heatstroke In Your Dog or Cat Is Simple
1 – Be aware of outdoor temperatures and monitor / limit your pet’d outdoor activity on very hot, humid days. Make sure there is a shady area available that your pet can rest in.
2 – Limit the time your pet is exposed to direct sun during the hottest part of the day.
3 – Exercise your pet in the early morning or evening at least an hour before or after feeding your pet.
4 – Never leave your pet in a vehicle during the day, even with the windows open. A vehicle can heat up to fatal levels very quickly, and is the most common cause of heatstroke.
5 – Provide plenty of cool water and shade for your pet. Take extra precautions for outdoor dogs and cats.
6 – Allow your pet time to acclimate to warmer temperatures before rigorous exercise, especially if changing from a cooler climate or air conditioning.
Your pet is dependent on you for their care and survival. Take your responsibility seriously, and if you have any concerns, call us at 727-785-7200 and bring your dog or cat to our animal hospital. We welcome your calls and your questions. When your pet is healthy and happy, we are happy.
Have a safe and enjoyable summer!
“Your pets can get sunburned just as easily as you can,” warned Dr. Kevin Adney, veterinarian at Day and Evening Pet Clinic in Palm Harbor, Florida. While it’s great to play with your pets outdoors on a hot summer day, some precautions should be taken to avoid not only sunburns, but heatstroke as well.
White and light colored dogs and cats can get sunburned if they experience too much exposure to the suns UVA and UVB rays. Long term exposure to intense heat and sun can lead to skin irritation, chaffing and more severe skin damage problems like skin cancers. Fair haired pets should be limited in the amount of time they spend directly in the sun. The ears, nose and eyelids are most susceptible to sun damage. There are some pet sunscreens that can help protect the body, nose and ears of your pet.
A summer haircut can help your pet’s body dissipate the heat, but hair that is cut too short can destroy the protection the hair gives from the suns direct rays. Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not regulate their body temperature by sweating.
Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open the temperatures inside the vehicle can quickly rise to lethal levels, even in the shade.
Avoid having your pet stand or walk on hot roadways or sidewalks for any length of time. Exercise your pet in the early morning hours before temperatures rise too high, and avoid exercising in hot, humid weather just before or after feeding your pet.
Stay vigilant, and watch for signs of heatstroke like rapid panting, twitching, barking, or a wild-eyed expression.
Cool overheated pets down by pouring water them every 5 to 10 minutes and placing them under the breeze from a fan. Don’t place your pet in a tub of cold water or apply ice packs. Call your veterinarian right away and get your pet to the pet clinic for an exam and treatment.
Call our pet clinic at 727-785-7200 for more information about keeping your pet cool and safe this summer.
“Vaccinations are still the foundation of preventive medicine for dogs and cats,” said Dr. Al Paredes.
Dr. Kevin Adney agrees; “Vaccinating a pet is considered to be a beneficial medical procedure by most veterinarians trained in the science of canine and feline medicine. Vaccinations, in fact, carry very little risk of adverse reactions in your pet. However, as with any medical protocol, the rare instance of an adverse reaction always exists.”
A large majority of the United States’ 90 million cats and 74.8 million dogs make at least a twice-yearly visit to the veterinarian. Those visits often include at least some vaccinations to keep the family pets from suffering from serious infectious diseases. We asked Dr. Al Paredes and Dr. Kevin Adney, Veterinarians in Palm Harbor, Florida about vaccines and protecting pets against the risk of disease.
Pet Vaccinations – How They Work
“Dog and cat vaccines protect your pets against disease by allowing pets to build up a protective immune response before exposure to the disease the vaccine protects against. There are a few different ways which vaccines function,” Dr. Paredes reported. “They typically provide
1) a killed form of the infectious agent which cannot cause the disease, or
2) a tiny portion of the infectious agent which, by itself, cannot cause the disease, or
3) a live, but modified form of the infectious agent which has been custom-made so that it does not produce disease.
All three of these types of vaccines allow the animal to react mildly to the vaccine in such a way that it provides protection to the pet against the actual disease itself. Some vaccines (such as the Bordetella vaccine) can cause mild symptoms of the disease in the pet for a short time, but also produce immunity against a much more serious case of the disease.”
Normal Pet Vaccinations Reactions
Dr. Adney stated, “An overwhelming majority of pets have no ill effects from the vaccinations at all, but it is not a cause for alarm if your pet has mild symptoms after vaccination. Symptoms may include:
lethargy and listlessness for a short time,
very mild fever,
mild swelling or discomfort at the site of the injection.”
Abnormal Pet Vaccinations Reactions
Dr. Richard B. Ford, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVPM (Hon) said at the 2008 ACVIM Forum* “Vaccination is, in fact, a medical procedure. Despite a relatively good safety record, there is always some degree of risk in administering biological agents in a dog or cat.”
Dr. Paredes and Dr. Adney concurred, saying, “In rare instances, a pet may suffer from an abnormal, allergic reaction after vaccination. Symptoms that warrant a return trip to the veterinarian pet clinic that administered the vaccine are:
itching or developing a rash or “hives”,
swelling of the face and/or eyelids
the formation of a specific type of tumor, known as a sarcoma (especially in cats.)”
Sarcomas are known to be extremely locally invasive and aggressive in nature. However, vaccination sarcomas are rare. The current estimate of vaccination caused sarcoma is less than 1 in 10,000 cats according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association by Drs. GE Moore et al (Vol. 231, 2007).
Good Reasons for Vaccinating Your Pets
Despite the fact that vaccinations can cause adverse reactions in some pets, many of the diseases routinely vaccinated against can, and do, cause serious and life-threatening disease in dogs and cats. Moreover, some of these diseases also pose a serious health risk to people. Protecting family pets against these diseases can also help to protect the pet owner themselves as well as the general public. “In some cases,” Dr. Paredes cautioned, “vaccines are mandated by law, as with vaccination against rabies.”
We offer very reasonably priced vaccination packages for dogs and cats. Call us at 727-785-7200 for pricing or visit our prices and special offers page at http://dayandeveningpetclinic.com/price-list/
Get our special offer discount coupons for vaccinations and spay neuter service at www.spaVet.com
People living in Florida, especially along the coastal areas, usually have a list of things to do and protect during hurricane season. Most important is the contents of a hurricane kit, but equally important is to prepare early for protecting your pets.
“A good practice is to start with,” said Dr. Adney at Day and Evening Pet Hospital, “is by calling our veterinarian clinic to make sure that your dogs’ and cats’ vaccines are up to date. Also, in case of an evacuation order, having a plan for boarding pets that you cannot take with you is essential. We can recommend such a place, as most emergency shelters will not accept pets.”
If an evacuation is called for, never leave your pet at home or in a vehicle alone. Even thunderstorms can traumatize your pet, and the risks of flooding, wind damage, and flying debris can threaten your pets. Like humans, your pets need their own storm preparedness kits. This can include:
1 – A comfortable carrier that will allow your pet to stand up, turn around and lay down for extended periods of time. Mark the carrier with your pet’s name and your contact information. Make sure the carrier is large enough so that being confined to the carrier for a few days is not too uncomfortable for your pet.
2 – A blanket or bed for the bottom of the carrier that is not so thick that it restricts air flow through the vents in the carrier..
3 – Medical records, medicines and other emergency supplies. For more information on this see our article on Handling Pet Emergencies.
4 – Food and water to last several days or a couple of weeks, stored in airtight containers. And dishes for both the food and water. Plastic milkl jugs that have been washed well are perfect for carrying water for your pet, and are easy to mark with your pet’s name.
5 – Collars, leashes and harnesses tagged with your pet’s name and your contact information.
6 – A microchip locator on each pet. We do inexpensive and painless insertions of a microchip at our pet clinic in Palm Harbor, and we are offering a special price for this at our clinic for the next several weeks. Call us at 727-785-7200 for pricing and mention you saw this article on our website blog on the internet.
7 – A favorite toy or chew bone to make your pet feel more at home in their carrier.
8 – A list of hotels/motels that you have called ahead of time to see if they accept pets in carriers in the rooms with hotel guests. Many of the privately owned hotels may make allowances for storm evacuation emergencies if you have a carrier that can confine your pet while in the guest room.
We can’t stop Mother Nature, but we can prepare for her worst by getting ready ahead of time, so when a violent storm does occur we are prepared to handle it and keep ourselves and our pets out of harm’s way. Having your hurricane kit as well as one for each pet will help keep trauma to a minimum and better ensure everyone’s safety.