Spring Has Sprung - and so have seasonal allergies

Posted on March 13, 2018

Spring is here!  The sun is setting later, the daffodils are blooming, and the Easter Bunny is at the mall (when did that become a thing?).  In addition to warm weather and fun activities, springtime can also mean Allergy Season for many people and dogs.

About 10 percent of the canine population suffers from seasonal allergies, which usually manifest as inflamed and itchy skin.  If your dog is displaying these symptoms, it's time for a trip to the vet.  Allergies are a chronic condition but, with an accurate diagnosis and thoughtful treatment plan, your dog's symptoms can be successfully managed.

See this article, How to Stop Dog Allergies with Powerful Treatments That Work, for further discussion on how to spot seasonal allergies and treat your dog's symptoms.  In some cases, at home treatments (supplements, shampoos, wipes and sprays) may provide relief for your dog.  But if your dog is still displaying symptoms, your vet may suggest antihistamines or prescribe corticosteriods.  

Because antihistamines are only effective in 30% of dogs and steroids are not recommended for long-term use, the next step is to pursue allergy testing.  Veterinary Dermatologist Dr. Nicole Eckholm describes allergy testing and immunotherapy as "the gold standard for managing environmental allergies."  Allergy blood tests are commercially available but this method is not as reliable as intradermal testing, which "provides the information necessary to custom formulate an allergy vaccine to desensitize your pet."  

In Charlotte, we have access to 3 board certified Veterinary Dermatologists at Southeast Veterinary Dermatology & Ear Clinic.  Your primary veterinarian can provide a referral to this specialty clinic, which focuses on diseases of the ears, skin and claws.  Once you and your veterinarian have developed a care plan for your dog, you can both go back to enjoying spring... please tell the Easter Bunny I say hi.