With the arrival of spring, veterinary consultations notice an uptick in visits related to itching and pruritus or skin irritations. Just like with humansallergies also affect some petsboth dogs and cats. “There are animals that can be full of fleas and do not notice them and, however, in others, a single bite turns into a huge allergy,” he explains. Jacob Bofarull, from the hospital located in La Canonja, Bofarull Veterinaris.
One of the main symptoms of all allergies is itching, so the first association the owner can make is that it is external parasites, especially at this time of year. However, this is not always the case, since there are also environmental allergies, which are more seasonal, or atopic and food allergies, which are suffered throughout the year.
Pollen, mold or dust are the cause of many environmental allergies, a type of disorder that is generally seasonal, so it will probably only appear from time to time. “Dogs can get hay fever, so you may notice sneezing or irritation when the pollen count is high,” they note on Purina’s website. “The positive thing is that we know they are environmental. Not the first time, but later, in the history of the animal, it is verified that each spring it presents the same problems. And this occurs in both dogs and cats, without distinction. As of April or May, he visits the consultation more frequently, has more itching, scratches a lot more or suffers from alopecia and antihistamines should be prescribed», illustrates Jacob.
Collars, pipettes and pills are the ideal prevention against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which can transmit Leishmania.
Fleas and ticks
As Purina experts point out on their website, “dog allergies are the result of a reaction to flea saliva on the skin and symptoms range from mild itching to a severe reaction when bitten.” Dogs can usually scratch, rub, chew or lick their hair or skin and “this can sometimes lead to trauma to the skin or the introduction of a secondary infection.”
“Sometimes these are serious cases, since the bite, both flea and tick, apart from causing allergy, can cause diseases“, He says Jacob who, in any case, remember that climate change is also noticeable in the animal world and although fleas, ticks, scabies and mites are associated with this time, this is changing. “Parasites adapt. That is to say, with the heat they live much better, but inside the house, if there is heating, they will also live. We have to realize that there are fleas in all seasons. I have found in the middle of December. Climate change is a reality for them and it is perceived, for example, in their fur, since they now shed hair all year round.” Therefore, in relation to parasites, the specialist recommends annual prevention in all pets in general and in those with allergies in particular.
prevention includes the necklaces, the pipettes and the pills. Of the latter there are two types, monthly or quarterly. “The effectiveness is the same, so it is up to the consumer’s taste, depending on their comfort,” says the La Canonja veterinarian. Pill or collar and pipette complement each other and, in fact, in areas where ticks and fleas predominate, such as in stagnant waters or riverbeds where it is customary to walk, “it is easier to catch parasites and even those prevented with a pipette or collar, they catch a tick. Thus, I also advise the parasitic pill».
Food allergies can arise at any time and age and it is not easy to find their origin
In the case of ticks, if you choose to remove themyou have to make sure you do it right. That is, when removing it, preferably with tweezers, the head should not remain inside the dog’s skin, since otherwise, infections may appear.
A feature of the pipette is that, unlike pills, «repels mosquitoes and this is also very important because they transmit many diseases, including Leishmania» a chronic disorder that currently has no cure.
Other allergic reactions may be a consequence of bee or wasp stings. Signs of shock may appear within minutes of exposure and may include: difficulty breathing, drooling, vomiting, seizures, and sometimes even loss of consciousness. If this occurs, contact your vet immediately.
As far as the cats, these are also not exempt from prevention, whether they leave the house or not. In the latter, deworming is suggested a couple of times a year.
Invasion of Ukraine
Animals, the other protagonists of the conflict
Many of the victims who have fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine have done so accompanied by their pets, which also involves a process of adaptation, both for immigrants and host countries. The Jacob Bofarull hospital is one of those that works together with the Col·legi de Veterinaris to altruistically vaccinate dogs arriving from the Baltic country against rabies.
“Ukraine is a rabies endemic country,” recalls Jacob, who insists on the importance of prevention. “Until now it was very controlled thanks to vaccination campaigns. Currently, in Catalonia we have fallen asleep a bit, since it is not compulsory, but we have to bear in mind that it is a disease that is spread to people. The world is becoming more and more exposed, it is getting smaller and smaller. Many animals come from Ceuta and Melilla and now from the Ukraine. And it is very easy to prevent, with a puncture, once a year », he asserts.
Intolerance to some foods occurs throughout the year and affects both animals that only eat feed and those that eat food prepared by their owners. Gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhea can be symptoms, although they also translate into skin problems, as Jacob points out.
“It can start at any time of the year and at any age and discovering its origin can be very complicated,” says the specialist. For this reason, a hypoallergenic medicated feed is initially prescribed to begin diagnosing. A treatment is done exclusively with this feed “without preservatives or dyes, low in protein” and if it works, some controlled food is gradually added to the diet. For example, the usual feed of the animal. If the allergic reaction occurs again, then you must switch to the medication for an indefinite period of time.
“Normally chicken is hypoallergenic, so you have to watch it in animals that have sensitive skin,” says Jacob, who says that the BARF diet, based on raw food, is currently in fashion, “but there are also pets that eat like this and have allergic reactions». The BARF diet is based on the consideration that dogs should follow a diet as close as possible to that of their wild ancestors.
In any case, “if the change in diet does not improve, further investigation must be carried out, which entails tests and allergy tests”, a nuisance for the dog and for the owner’s pocket.