With high pollen levels expected every spring, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is reminding pet owners that humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from allergies during spring.

Protecting pets from pollenAVA spokesperson, Dr Robert Johnson said that while humans tend to get hay fever, dogs tend to present with itchy skin or ear problems.

“Dogs and cats are more prone to skin irritation during the spring months and they’ll persistently scratch, lick or bite to get relief."

“It’s important to take your pet to the vet as soon as they start showing signs as constant scratching can lead to sores, hair loss and secondary infections. The ear canal is essentially a rolled up tube of skin and if that gets inflamed it can lead to nasty infections.”

Other signs to watch for include:

• Chewing at the feet. Dogs don’t groom like cats do so if a dog is licking at its feet, it’s probably very itchy.
• Rubbing of the face.
• Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections.

“While hay fever signs aren’t common in pets with allergies, similar respiratory complaints can occur. A running nose, watery eyes or coughing and sneezing and wheezing in cats can be typical signs.

“Cats get their own form of asthma which is usually allergen related. In fact, researchers in Edinburgh have published evidence that some cats may be allergic to humans, which is very ironic!”

“Pets with seasonal allergies to grasses, pollens and trees will often get worse with their signs each year, which is another reason why it’s important to seek treatment early."

“Treatments include oral medications, creams and medicated shampoos. In some cases your vet may give your furry friend injections of the allergic material in small doses to build up a tolerance to the allergens,” he said.

If you know your pet gets allergies the AVA recommends keeping your pets inside during days of high pollen count.

MEDIA RELEASE via www.ava.com.au

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