Spring is almost here, and with that comes warmer temps and itching pets! Seeing your pet uncomfortable from scratching and licking themselves can be both sad and sometimes irritating (especially if it’s during the night when everyone is trying to sleep). But don’t worry! There are different steps that can be taken.
Allergies affect our pets differently from us humans. We mainly experience runny nose, watery/itchy eyes, sneezing and sometimes coughing. Our pets, however, have allergy receptors in their skin, so that is why they itch and lick themselves. Allergies can appear minor in some pets, while in others it can be more severe: red skin, patchy hair loss, dry/flaky skin, evidence of skin infection, and even skin odor.
In the past, it was believed that antihistamines were the most effective when trying to tackle allergies in pets. With the advancement in companion animal medicine, new medications have been developed to actually target those itch receptors to give our pets some relief, without having to use steroids.
Apoquel is an oral tablet and has been available for a few years now. It’s extremely safe to use, is not a steroid, and has been extremely helpful with many pets. It can be given daily, sometimes all-year-round, or on an as-needed basis.
Cytopoint is an injection given at our hospital. It goes just under the skin like vaccines, so most pets tolerate it quite well. It can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks in some pets (you’ll know as soon as it wears off, as they’ll begin to itch again). Once the itching begins again, it's time for another injection!
A supplement that is also helpful are omega 3 fatty acids that can be added in to your pets food. This helps to maintain a healthy hair and skin coat.
We should mention, too, that Apoquel and Cytopoint are only available for dogs. There is word that an allergy medication for cats is in the works. If you think your pet may benefit from one of these medications, give our office a call, and we’d be happy to set up an appointment for you with one of our veterinarians!