A pet constantly chewing or licking, scratching non-stop, red, itchy skin. These are common concerns in our area. Environmental allergens (pollens of trees, grasses and weeds) challenge our pets and dermatological issues can be complex to work out. They may require a series of visits to your vet to get to the root of the problem.
A thorough history and physical examination is critical. Firstly, we need to rule out basic issues like external parasites like tick and fleas. Bacterial or fungal infection may contribute to discomfort in the skin, too. Metabolic conditions are also something to consider, such as hypothyroidism. Diagnostic tests may involve a skin scrape, hair pluck or impression smear of any lesions. So, as one can see, “itching” is not a simple ailment to treat!
Thereafter, allergies may require investigation. An allergy is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to a normal substance and generally appears any time from six months to three years of age. Food, insects, household detergents and plants may be contributors to skin allergies in our pets. We may trial symptomatic treatment but if this fails, allergy blood testing can alert us to the specific allergens causing the problem. This would allow us to know if grass was the real cause! Immunotherapy (through a series of injections) is the aim for alleviation of symptoms, once we have established the allergens responsible. Luckily, we do have options to relieve your itchy pet. Don’t let grass get them down!
These tips are brought to you courtesy of the great team at Veterinary House Hospital – https://www.vethouse.co.za | 033-342 4698.