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!
“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
Fleas are a major concern of pet owners. Dr. Al Paredes, veterinarian at Day And Evening Pet Clinic in Palm Harbor, FL often gets questions about how to remove and prevent flea infestations both in the home and the yard.
Dr. Paredes recently was asked by a reader of his blog, “When you have a moment would you comment about the use of diatomaceous earth as an organic non-pesticide approach to killing fleas in the “back yard”?
Here is what Dr. Paredes had to say. “Diatamaceous earth works to kill fleas by absorbing the lipids of the insect, therefore dehydrating it and causing it to die. Make sure to use the food-grade version as the others may be chemically treated and unhealthy for a pet. According to many websites, it is EPA approved to put into your yard. It is thought that diatamaceous earth only kills adult fleas, so it does not eliminate any other life cycle so you will have to apply is every 20 days or so until your infestation is eliminated.”
This is a very informative website regarding the product: http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html
Typically, Dr. Paredes recommends using Borax within the pet’s environment to help eliminate fleas. Diatamaceous earth can be extremely costly and can be difficult to find in smaller quantities.
Fleas are really troublesome. They can not only infest your pet, but they can invade and take over your home. Fleas are pretty easy to spot in your pets’ fur and you can easily notice your pets’ scratching as a sign of their discomfort.
If your dog or cat’s skin becomes red and inflames, it could be a sign that your pet is allergic to fleas’ saliva. Cats can become infected very easily because they swallow about half of the fleas on their coats when they groom themselves.
If your pet has fleas, you can be sure your pet is also experiencing the presence of fleas in its environment; in the home and in the yard. We have safe and effective products to guard your pest and kill and prevent fleas, but you should also be treating your pet’s environment as well. Ask us to suggest safe, effective products for your pets, and ask about any specials we have on those products when you visit.
Give us a call at Day and Evening Pet Clinic at 727-785-7200 if you have questions we can answer for you. We love to help our patients and their owners. Or leave your comment or question below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
“A cat spraying problem is not typically a litter box issue,” says veterinarian Dr. Al Paredes. “Rather, it is usually a marking behavior which is a dominant nonverbal communication among cats.” Spraying [urine marking] can signal several different things; commonly to attract a mate or mark territories and boundaries. A cat’s urine contains pheromones, a substance produced by animals that is used for communication and identifies the cat.
While neutered male cats might spray when aroused, intact males have the greatest motivation to mark because of their mating and territorial agendas.
Intact female cats that are in heat can spray to signal potential mates, but they urine-mark more commonly from the squatting position.
Cats do not spray or mark things to irritate their owners. Cat spraying is instinctive genetic behavior that has helped cats survive and reproduce in the wild, and it cannot be bred out of domestic cats.
Many times, adjustments can be made in the home that can solve the problem, especially if you can recognize the purpose that the cat is spraying for – attracting a mate, marking a territory. If your cat is frequently and consistently spraying, here are some things that you can do:
Get an Exam from your veterinarian to eliminate the possibility of a medical problem.
Spay and Neuter – Talk with your vet about the advantages to you and about the health advantages to your cat. Many time the operation will stop the spraying behavior.
Eliminate the Cause If It Is Stress – If your pet is in a situation that puts it in conflict with other cats, or causes separation anxiety, attempt to identify and eliminate the cause of the stress to control the spraying behavior.
Clean up the spray marks – There are specially designed products available that neutralize the odor of the animals urine and clean off the stains. Avoid using household products that contain or smell like ammonia as the smell of ammonia simulates the smell of urine and can cause the cat to remark that same spot.
Use Pheromonal Sprays: They contain substances which discourage spraying behavior when it is applied to the areas the pet has sprayed.
Litter Boxes – Have an adequate number of litter boxes around the home and keep them clean
Restrict the view of other cats outside: It is natural response is to mark its territory when your cat sees another cat. If you can cover up the view of the outdoor area where other cats frequently can be seen by covering windows with blinds or shades and moving furniture away from the window to deny easy access to the view it can help cut down on the spraying behavior.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Cats can suffer from medical conditions that make them urinate outside the litter box. These medical conditions can be life threatening, so if you encounter this problem, call us at 727-785-7200 and bring your cat Day And Evening Pet Clinic right away to get an exam. Better to know for sure that it is just a typical cat spraying problem, especially when your beloved cat’s health is at stake.