Purdue News

September 6, 2005

Top 5 tips to help pets with seasonal allergies in the fall

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Autumn is usually a big time for allergies in pets, and Lorraine Corriveau, wellness veterinarian at Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, has some advice on what pet owners can do to help their pets make it through the season.

Signs that will identify that a pet has allergies include face rubbing, feet licking, butt scooting, belly scratching and head shaking. Owners might also see red and irritated skin or areas of hair loss.

"Just as in people, allergy testing can be performed to find out what your pet is allergic to," Corriveau says. "A vaccine can be specially formulated to help with these specific allergens."

The most common cause of allergies in pets is fleas. Pets also can be allergic to food, pollens in the environment, skin contacts and bacteria hypersensitivity.

"There is no way to cure allergies," Corriveau said. "But there are ways to control them to help our pets be more comfortable."

Corriveau recommends the following tips that owners can do at home to minimize allergens:

1 — Use a good flea preventive like Advantage or Frontline.

2 — Wipe pet's feet with a baby wipe or moistened washcloth after coming in the house from outside to remove excess pollens. If in high grass, wipe down body or bathe the pet.

3 — Vacuum using a HEPA filter to help collect pollens. Try allergen remover to help with dust mites.

4 — Use a medicated shampoo prescribed by your veterinarian. Oatmeal-based shampoos with cool water soothe itchy skin.

5 — Make the pet more comfortable with antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, antifungal and possibly oral antibiotics or steroids as prescribed by the pet's veterinarian.

Corriveau reminds pet owners to always talk to their veterinarians if they have any questions concerning a pet's health or environment. Board-certified veterinary dermatologists can help with advanced problems. Owners can check the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Web site at www.aaaai.org for the daily pollen counts and levels in their area.

Corriveau is available to talk to media about all aspects of animal health, and is best reached by e-mail at corrivea@purdue.edu

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Source: Lorraine Corriveau, corrivea@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


Note to Journalists: This is part of a series of pet health care tips from Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. Specialists in all areas of animal care are available to talk to the media. For more information, contact Maggie Morris, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu


Related Web site:
American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology


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