What are Spring Season Allergies?
For many allergy sufferers, humans and dogs alike, spring is the biggest challenge in terms of suffering from itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and sore throats. Spring season allergies can occur in all areas of the United States that have times of the year which are seasonal. Pollen from trees normally is released at the beginning of spring through the mid-spring months, but by the end of spring even though trees are finished releasing the pollen, the flowering plants and grasses begin to do the same.
Spring brings new life to many trees, and this new life releases pollen from the budding leaves and flowering parts of the trees. Trees that release a high amount of pollen include the elm, cypress, juniper, cedar, oak, chestnut, beech, birch, alder, and ash. The poplar family of trees is also high in pollen and includes the poplar, cottonwood, and aspen. Flowering plants, shrubs, and even grasses release pollen at this time of the year, and many dogs are allergic to this natural substance.
In addition to pollen, spring also brings bees and other stinging insects which can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs that are allergic to their venom. Fortunately, there are antihistamines on the market today that can help dogs that are allergic to bees; however, stronger methods such as the use of epinephrine may need to be used for dogs that are severely allergic.
Spring season allergies in dogs occur when a dog’s immune system is hypersensitive to the various allergens, such as pollen, that occur in the spring season.
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Symptoms of Spring Season Allergies in Dogs
Symptoms of spring allergies in dogs may vary, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Skin irritations
- Red eyes
There are several different types of allergens that may lead to an allergic reaction in your pet. In the springtime, allergens may include:
- Tree pollen
- Flowering shrubs releasing pollen
- Stinging insects, such as bees and wasps
Causes of Spring Season Allergies in Dogs
uses of spring allergies in dogs are the direct contact or the inhalation of allergens. Dogs may be allergic to one specific allergen, or multiple allergens during the season. Specific causes are:
- Hypersensitivity to typically harmless substances
- Over reactive immune system in the dog
- Immune system attacking particles that enter the body
Diagnosis of Spring Season Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of spring allergies, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Spring allergies are not always difficult to diagnose because they are seasonal and do not occur all year round. With spring allergies, you will begin to see a pattern of when the dog develops the symptoms and then when they dissipate.
The veterinarian will assess your dog and ask questions pertaining to his symptoms and when they began and how long they last. The veterinary caregiver will also take a closer look at your pet’s nasal cavity, his skin, and any other places within his body that you may be concerned about. Spring season allergies are diagnosed based on your dog’s history, the complete physical examination, possibly an endoscopic examination, and any other tests which the medical professional feels are necessary for a diagnosis.
In terms of skin allergies, the veterinarian will assess your dog’s skin and ask questions about his home environment and how much time he spends outdoors. The veterinarian may also ask you questions about your yard and the types of plants and weeds that are growing there that your dog may have contact with. In severe cases, the veterinarian may do a skin test to find the specific allergen that is causing the reaction. Skin testing may be costly, so the veterinarian may suggest various treatments and an adjustment to his outdoor environment to see if that helps before conducting any further testing.
Treatment of Spring Season Allergies in Dogs
Treatment of spring season allergies in dogs may vary depending on the specific allergen your dog is having a reaction to. Treatment methods can include:
Your medical professional may choose to give your dog a bath using a hypoallergenic cleanser specified for skin irritations and allergic reactions. He may also choose to add a topical solution that contains a mild antihistamine to apply to his skin, especially if he has any hotspots.
Medications, such as antihistamines or mild steroids may be given to effectively control spring season allergies. Since his allergies are seasonal, these medications may only need to be given throughout the spring months. Be sure to follow your veterinarian’s dosage, and never give your dog any over-the-counter antihistamines without his consent.
Controlling the environment is very difficult to do, and dogs need to go outside on a regular basis. The pollen in the air from the trees, flowers, and grasses is unavoidable. Limiting your dog’s time outdoors and keeping him from resting in the grass close to flowering plants is one thing you can do to limit his inhalation allergies and skin allergies relate to the springtime.
Recovery of Spring Season Allergies in Dogs
Once you find the treatment that works for your dog, you will see signs of improvement within a few days to a week. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions on how to administer any medications and how often to bathe your dog. He may suggest a special shampoo for decontamination, especially during times he has been outdoors. Medications to treat allergies may have side effects, so it is important to familiarize yourself with these side effects and closely monitor your dog for any other reactions.
If, for some reason, your dog does not respond to allergy medications or environmental changes (or both), it will be very important to visit your veterinarian once again to have further tests taken and possibly to identify the specific allergen. As well, if your dog has a condition such as chronic rhinitis a different method may need to be considered. Spring season allergies are temporary, and once you get your dog on a regimen of effective control of his body to the allergens, he will begin to enjoy the outdoors once again.