One of the most common and frustrating problems in pets are probably the allergies. Their diagnosis must be very specific, and treatments are usually chronic all year round and last for years. Traditional treatments such as steroids are cheap but have lots of side effects. Modern treatments are much more effective and safer, but they are expensive, especially in case of large dogs.
In this article we would like to help the owners to keep under control, if possible, allergic problems in their pets, reducing the requirements of medicines or without using any medicine at all.
The two main sources of allergic problems are mites and pollen.
Mites: dust mites and storage mites. All of them require warm temperatures and humidity for their development, and they usually feed on fats and proteins. Dust ones are often found on pillows, mattresses, and pets carpets and beds. Storage ones are commonly found in bags of pet dry food. It’s also easy to find them in bathrooms and kitchens, because of their optimum temperature and humidity. There are, for example, cats which suffer from crisis of asthma (which is also an allergic condition) only when they get into the bathroom, or only when they climb to the sofa, in both cases probably because of the high concentration of mites at those places.
What can we do? We can machine wash warm (60ºC) pillows and carpets, and use a vacuum cleaner at least once a week; not recommendable to clean the dust when the animal is present, and better to use a wet cloth instead of a feather duster. It’s also to keep dry food in hermetical bags and in the fridge if possible, and apart from any source of humidity, because it helps the mites to develop.
Pollen: In comparison with mites, pollen is seasonal (while mites appear all year round), which is an advantage, but on the other hand pollen is extremely difficult to eliminate from the environment. If our pet is allergic to pollen, it’s very important to register the exact moment of the year when the crisis happens, since some plants produce pollen only a few days a year, and the same days year after year (it’s very typical the case of the dog which scratches like mad the first week of July year after year, and nothing at all the rest of the year). We can check at the Internet the levels of pollen in the air in every moment in our area, and this can help us to guess in advance when the allergic crisis is going to appear. In those days, it’s a good idea not to walk the animal outdoors (except for going to the toilet, and washing the animal when it’s back home for eliminating the pollen that got stuck to the fur), and to keep windows closed.
In case of an animal allergic to pollen, lawn may be a big problem, because it consists of grasses, which are one of the most allergenic kinds of plants, and besides, when it has been mown recently, pollen spreads, so contacting a few seconds with lawn is enough to start the scratching.
Let’s don’t forget that both mites and pollen produce their allergenic effect when inhaled. This means, for example, if the lawn of my urbanization has been mown in the morning, even if my pet hasn’t gone out yet, the pollen might have “flown” towards it and produce the crisis.
What can we do? The most useful thing is to have a calendar with the dates of the allergic crisis our pet has suffered, and compare them with pollen maps which are available at the internet, avoid lawn, especially if it has been mown recently, and to keep our pet indoor and not ventilate our home in the moments of high concentration of pollen in the air.
Clinica Veterinaria, Calle Holanda 9, MASA Square, Gran Alacant
T: 966 698 569