When you think of seasonal allergies, the first thing that comes to mind is spring pollen.
Without a doubt, when nature is in full bloom and all the insects are buzzing around pollinating, the wind blows the seeds of the flowers and plants across the air, so potential allergic reactions for you and your pets aren’t far behind.
Spring is not the only time of the year when most allergies manifest
Few people are aware of the fact that all seasons – possibly with the exception of winter, depending on the climate of your region – have their very own allergens and irritants. Plants and flowers in nature have distinct blooming/withering cycles, and in both stages, they disperse allergens into the atmosphere, which can end up on the skin, in the eyes and respiratory tracts.
Depending on individual sensitivity, the organisms that are exposed to the allergen may or may not suffer an adverse reaction. While you may already be familiar with your own symptoms, let’s find out how you can determine when your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction.
1. Redness of the eyes and discharges
Conjunctivitis (the eyelid lining becoming infected) and scleritis (the eye white becomes inflamed) represent two of the most prevalent signs of an allergy. At the same time, you may notice discharge from the eyes of your pet or it may be squinting a lot, pawing at the ocular globe and rubbing its face against random surfaces.
2. Discharge from the ears, head tilting/shaking, ear scratching
The earflaps are prone to trapping allergens due to their shape, and in time, it may lead to infections and inflammations, creating a thriving environment for bacteria and yeast cultures. Redness in the proximity of the ear, discharge and frequent head shaking are often indicators of an allergic reaction.
3. Discharge from the nose and frequent sneezing
While you shouldn’t fly into a panic every time your furry companion sneezes, the sudden and substantial increase in frequency may be related to an exposure to allergens. If the sneezing is accompanied by nasal discharge, then it’s probably safe to assume an allergy.
4. Whooping cough, gagging reaction and excessive swallowing
As the respiratory tract becomes clogged with the discharge, and the allergens make their way into the trachea via the oropharynx, your pet will gag, cough and attempt to clear the pathway by swallowing repeatedly.
5. Licking certain parts of the body profusely, and chewing or scratching them
The epidermis can also become affected by contact with airborne allergens, and dermatitis is the most prevalent condition that develops. When it does, you’ll notice that the animal starts licking certain parts of the body abundantly, particularly around the axilla in skin folds and the groin, in an attempt to alleviate the unpleasant sensation.
Let a vet help you identify and deal with allergies
Recognizing the symptoms in your four-legged friend is one thing, but determining the category of allergens and selecting a suitable treatment for the adverse reaction is another. Visit a vet’s office and have your pet undergo a series of tests to identify the source of the allergy and follow the recommended treatment to alleviate the symptoms, before a simple inflamed earflap transforms into a full-blown infection.