Does your pet have allergies, or did he or she catch a bug? That's the main question when springtime illness hits.
We humans usually get runny noses and scratchy eyes when the pollen counts soar, but our pets show most of their allergies through their skin. So, if your dog or cat is sneezing, coughing, or chewing at her paws, it's time for a vet visit. We will do a thorough physical exam and help pinpoint the cause so we can get the treatment right the first time.
If your pet is suddenly coughing or sneezing, it could be an infectious disease. If you're reading this before illness hits, now is the time to make sure your dog's bordatella (kennel cough) and canine flu vaccines are up to date and that your cat is current on his FVRCP vaccine (a combo of respiratory diseases). Pets can spread infectious diseases well before they show any signs of illness, so even the most responsible owners can't always protect their pets from contact. Mild cases of kennel cough don't require treatment, but any pet who becomes lethargic, has a decreased appetite or a severe cough needs to be evaluated.
If scratching or licking are the main signs and your pet is on regular flea control, then environmental allergies can be the cause. Simple at-home remedies include:
Unfortunately, there is no permanent cure for allergies in pets, just like we humans pets can be life-long allergy sufferers. But there are many strategies to increase your pet's comfort with minimal side effects and therapies for long term maintenance to decrease the number of flare-ups.
Photo credit Tony Alter www.flickr.com