May is Allergy and Asthma month, and just like us, our pets can suffer from allergies. In fact, Dr. Cherice Roth, KeraVet Bio Advisor and Chief Medical Officer for Fuzzy, said that “We (Veterinarians) estimate that roughly 40% of pets have some type of allergy. Over half of those are going to be pets that are allergic to flea bites.”
May has been named Allergy and Asthma month for an obvious reason – for most of the United States this is a month where the pollen count is high, grass is growing, and trees and other plants begin to bloom. “We tend to see slightly more symptoms associated with spring and fall allergies primarily because pets are outside more,” shared Dr. Roth.
However, Dr. Roth warned, even seasonal allergies can last all year long and misdiagnosis can happen. “For instance, if the pet is allergic to something in each season it can look as though it’s not a seasonal allergy. Or, in another scenario, an allergen that we consider to be a spring or fall allergen may exist all year long.”
And, while May is one of the months many of us associate with the return of our allergies, some pets can have allergies that show up more in the winter such as the dander of other animals or dust mites, which become amplified due to spending more time indoors.
When treating allergies, Dr. Roth takes into consideration a few factors including animal species and the underlying cause of the allergy. “My first step is to deduce the cause of the allergy so we can help to avoid the associated symptoms. Following that, any pet with allergies should be on year-round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Next, medications like Apoquel have been life-changing for both dogs and cats. As far as allergies are concerned, this has allowed us to steer away from putting pets on steroids, which can heavily impact their physiology.”
The primary benefits of medicating a pet for allergies are to increase the human-animal bond and to improve the quality of life for the pet. If you believe your pet is showing signs of allergic reactions, be sure to make an appointment with your family veterinarian right away. Have information such as changes in medication or diet and information about their home life and daily routine readily available.
Learn more about KeraVet Bio Advisor, Dr. Cherice Roth, Chief Medical Officer for Fuzzy, by visiting her on LinkedIn.