Veterinarians: Pets suffer from allergies, too

Pet Allergies from Miranda Reynolds on Vimeo.

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by Miranda Reynolds
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO – The changing of the seasons mess with everyone’s allergies; for furry friends, this is no exception.

Dogs and cats can be prone to allergies or sensitivities to proteins found in pet food. In Arkansas, the common allergies in the region affect pets as well. Archie Ryan, veterinarian at Southwest Drive Animal Clinic, said allergies for pets and humans can be different.

“Humans build up an immunity to some allergies over time. For dogs, they typically get worse every year,” Ryan said.

Certain breeds of dogs commonly associate with allergies, e.g.

  • Shih Tzu
  • Golden Retriever
  • Maltase
  • Labradors

“Allergies are a dysfunction in your immune system that affect all pets but allergies have a genetic component to them so you can inherit allergies from your breeding,” Ryan said.

Lauren Rhue, associate veterinarian at Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital, said keeping a regular visit for pets is key.

“We like to get them in here every four-to-six months to make sure everything is going OK,” Rhue said.

Pets can be allergic to any type of food. This can start as soon as six-to-eight weeks, Ryan said.

The most common food allergies:

–       Red Food Dye
–       Dairy Products
–       Peanut Butter
–       Beef
–       Poultry

Some cases of skin disorders vary between different breeds. Genetics prove Labradors to be more prone to skin issues.

“My family had a Labrador. She was a dermatology train wreck, poor thing. She had allergies, ear infections, the works. We had to take her to a dermatology specialist and found out what she was allergic to,” Rhue said.

Veterinarians commonly speak about the commitment owning a pet takes.

“It’s a commitment. It’s a long-term commitment because they’re a puppy now but they’ll grow up and they’re going to live 10-15 years,” Rhue said.

April Morgan owns a Miniature Dachshund and works with animals. She says commitment to owning a pet should be taken seriously.

“People don’t take it seriously sometimes. They think, ‘Oh, I want a dog.’ Well it’s a big responsibility, it’s just like a child. I have three children and she is my fourth one,” Morgan said.

Pet owners can take some preventative measures to avoid allergies and food allergies.

–       Use fresh food
–       Store food in an air-tight container
–       Never pour new food over old food
–       Rinse your dog off with cool water after playing outside
–       Do not bathe too frequently and dry out the pet’s coat

Keep in mind, one human year can be worth about seven to a dog’s life, Ryan said. Bringing in the family pet routinely can prevent serious health problems in the future for your pet.

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