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.
“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.
Every dog loves a yummy treat now and then and they especially love the peanut butter in these delectable, nutritious goodies.
We were so impressed with this recipe for homemade dog biscuits we decided to share it with you.
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling Yield: 31 Servings
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ and cinnamon. Stir in the water, peanut butter, egg and oil.
On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. bone-shaped cookie cutter.
Place 2-in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned (tops may crack).
Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Editor’s Note: Reduced-fat peanut butter is not recommended for this recipe.
Nutritional Facts: 1 dog biscuit equals 61 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 7 mg cholesterol, 12 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Do you have an especially good recipe for homemade treats or special snacks or meals you make for your dog or cat? If so, email us the recipe with your contact information and a photo of your pet and your pet’s name so we can share it with all of our readers. Don’t be shy, even more dog biscuit recipes are welcome.
E-mail your recipe and photos to: editor@DayAndEveningPetClinic.com
“Many pets suffer from ear problems”, said Dr. Al Paredes, Veterinarian at Day And Evening Pet Clinic. The most common problems include ear tissue infection, ear mites, and chronic ear infections from a lack of regular cleaning.
Signs of Pet Ear Diseases
“The signs of ear diseases are easy to spot,” said Dr. Paredes. “If your pet’s ears have a bad odor, if they are scratching or rubbing their ears, shaking their head or tilting it to one side, check the ears for signs of discharge, swelling or redness in the ear canal, or painful areas around their ears.”
The Causes of Pet Ear Problems
Parasites are a common problem, but ear mites are generally seen in cats who will scratch at their ears. Mites are not generally seen in dogs’ ears.
Both dogs and cats can have problems due to allergies from something they inhaled, ate or touched. Allergies create changes inside the ear and we often see secondary infections in the ear caused by the initial allergy.
Yeast and bacteria can also cause infection, and they are often seen along with allergies, hormonal changes, or moisture in the ears. Ear cleaning alone may not take care of these, so a good antibiotic is sometimes recommended.
General ear cleaning on a regular basis can keep ear problems at bay. Have your pet’s ears checked when they are at the vet clinic for an exam, and ask us about ear cleaning solutions for your dog or cat to keep their ear problems to a minimum.