Warm weather - summer is finally here! For some dogs, warmer weather means allergy season. Signs of allergies in canines include (but are not limited to) ear infections, licking of feet, anal gland issues, intestinal upset, and general itchiness all over. As with people, dogs can have allergies to varying degrees. Some dogs with minor allergies can find relief in the form of Benadryl or prescription medication. However, dogs with serious allergies can be very uncomfortable and run the risk of infection - not to mention driving owners crazy with constant scratching, head shaking, and licking of the anal area.
Enter one of our favorite patients and our newest FEATURED CREATURE - Sammy. Sammy's "mom" was kind enough to impart Sammy's allergy experience in hopes of raising awareness about canine allergies and what can be done to control the symptoms:
Sammy is my favorite Texan. He is a mix of Labrador Retriever/Dachshund/Beagle mix. We adopted him when he was 4 months of age. At that point, Sammy had never been inside a house and his teeth chattered in our air-conditioned home. He had a rough start to life as the runt of the litter, and he was so covered in fleas and ticks that our TX vet said she could count on one hand the amount of times she'd ever seen a dog so infested.
We moved home to S.D. shortly after adopting him. In the summer of 2008, he and his 'sister' both started scratching. I had never seen anything like this - it was nonstop, 24/7. He was losing sleep because he could. not. stop. scratching. He was exhausted after a day or so of this. This was our introduction to canine allergies! Sam has both food & environmental allergies. Before diagnosis, he frequently had a very gurgly stomach and loose stools. I had no idea these were signs of a food allergy; now I see it very clearly. His enviro allergies flare up from July-Nov. We have used Prednisone and Atopica in the past to control them. This year, Dr. Jones ran an allergy test for us and now he is on customized immunotherapy shots. He is extremely good about his shot; he sees me preparing it and will come to me and wait patiently for it. We control his environment as much as we can with frequent laundering of his blankets & beds in hot water and fragrance free detergent, daily cleaning of the outdoor water dish to avoid pollen buildup, wiping down paws when pollen counts are high, and a lot of vacuuming. He has definitely made me a better housekeeper! LOL
Sammy loves to hike in the hills, take walks, bay at sirens, chase squirrels and watch 'The Love Boat'. If he is outside when he hears the theme song, he runs to the screen door and 'knocks' to be let in so he can 'watch' it with me.
A special thanks to Sammy and his "folks" for sharing their allergy experience and Sammy's fondess for "The Love Boat". 8) For information on canine allergy testing, click here. There are a variety of diets out there that have been formulated especially for animals with allergies. Click here for information about Hills prescription food. Click here for information on Purina prescription diets.