After the cold of winter, we all welcome spring with open arms, yet this warmer season does bring with it some negatives. Allergies and parasites are the top two concerns for our furry companions, and even our human family, too! At Connecticut Veterinary Center, we want every pet and their people to enjoy the spring season, so we’ve come up with ways to manage the two biggest concerns: pet allergies and parasites!
Reducing the Itch of Pet Allergies
Allergies for pets often result in itchy, irritated skin that causes excessive scratching and discomfort. Cats and dogs can be allergic to many of the same things we are including pollens, mold, dust and dust mites, as well as flea bites. With spring’s blooming flowers and warmer weather, these allergens become more prevalent. To help your pet cope with allergies, you first need to recognize them!
Signs of pet allergies include:
- Excessive licking and scratching
- Chewing paws
- Red, irritated skin
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Frequent ear infections
Diagnosing and Treating Pet Allergies
When you make an appointment for pet allergies, we’ll run some diagnostic tests to rule out any more serious underlying conditions. Once we determine there are no other causes for your itchy dog or cat, we’ll formulate a plan to manage their allergic reaction. While there is no cure for allergies, we can effectively manage them with the following:
- Cytopoint (an injection for dogs that reduces the itch for 4-6 weeks)
- Apoquel (a daily tablet for dogs)
- Atopica (a daily tablet for cats and dogs)
- Medicated shampoos to remove allergens and soothe skin
- Topical creams to reduce itchiness
- Parasite prevention to reduce any allergic reactions to flea bites
The Importance of Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
While we’ve already established that fleas can sometimes cause allergic reactions in cats and dogs, these and other parasites can be even more dangerous. Spring is when fleas, ticks, and heartworms start to become more active, so make sure your pet’s parasite prevention is up to date! Here are some of the dangers these parasites pose and why prevention is so important!
Fleas are resilient parasites who often survive the winter by seeking shelter in your home! Without flea prevention, these critters will live on your pet, feeding on their blood. This often causes itchiness and discomfort and can even cause disease. Fleas have been known to carry tapeworm larvae that they can pass to your pet—or human family. Additionally, Bartonella, or cat scratch disease, can also be transmitted through flea bites!
Ticks are a serious problem in Connecticut and greater New England. We are in a prime Lyme disease area, so precaution is warranted! Dogs are often more at risk than cats, even outdoor cats. Cats have very sensitive skin, and often remove the tick before it has a chance to bite. That doesn’t mean that cats don’t need tick prevention—they do! For dogs, however, we offer both tick prevention and the Lyme disease vaccine to offer them more one layer of protection against this dangerous disease.
Heartworms are internal parasites that get transmitted to our pets from the bites of infected mosquitoes. The heartworm larvae travel through the bloodstream and lodge themselves in the blood vessels of your pet’s heart and lungs, where they mature, grow, and multiply. Heartworm disease used to be relatively contained to the south, but with greater movement of pets and people, heartworms are now a problem up north as well. The disease is very difficult and costly to treat for dogs, and for cats, there is no cure. While mosquitoes do die out in winter, their resurgence each spring is hard to predict, so year-long heartworm prevention is still important!
Ask us today about our allergy management and parasite prevention options! We’ll help you and your pet enjoy a safe, happy spring!