Did you know that May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month? While the campaign is aimed at humans, both people and pets experience more allergy and asthma symptoms in the early spring. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of both since your pet can’t communicate his discomfort with words. Additionally, animals often display allergy and asthma symptoms in different ways than people do.
 
Asthma in Dogs and Cats
Asthma is somewhat of a common condition in cats, although dogs can develop it as well. Due to the growing number of environmental pollutants, more animals are being diagnosed with asthma every year. Some of the most common triggers for an asthma attack in dogs and cats include:
  • Car exhaust fumes
  • Cat litter dust
  • Chemical solutions and household sprays, including deodorant, flea spray, hair spray, and perfume
  • Dust
  • Fireplace and tobacco smoke
  • Mold and mildew
  • Pollen from grass and trees
Prolonged coughing and wheezing are the main symptoms of asthma. Unfortunately, people with cats often don’t recognize these asthma symptoms because they assume their cat is coughing due to a hairball. These symptoms normally occur only during an asthma flare-up. When asthma becomes severe, the animal deals with coughing, wheezing, and constant panting daily. Prolonged breathing with an open mouth can lead to serious complications for your pet. 
 
Allergies in Dogs and Cats
Allergies in companion animals typically fall into one of these categories: 
  • Contact: A contact allergy develops due to your pet making direct contact with the allergen, such as ingredients in grooming products.
  • Flea Dermatitis: Some dogs and cats develop an allergy to flea saliva. This can cause severe irritation on the skin and intense scratching. Your pet may even scratch her skin raw.
  • Food: Food ingredients, including wheat, soy, beef, and chicken, can cause allergy symptoms in some pets. We offer Royal Canin and other prescription diets for pets who can’t eat food that has been commercially prepared.
  • Inhalant: This category of allergies included pollen, cigarette smoke, dust, or anything else that your pet breathes in and has a reaction to.
When people have allergies, they typically have watery eyes, a stuffed nose, and sneeze a lot. Dogs and cats won’t necessarily display these symptoms. Instead, they lick and scratch frequently to try to get rid of the discomfort. This can cause additional irritation to the skin and a potential infection.
 
Treating Allergies and Asthma in Companion Animals
Excessive scratching, wheezing, and coughing are typically the first indication that a dog or cat has asthma or allergies. Please contact us at Battletown Animal Clinic for an immediate appointment if you notice these symptoms. Your pet’s veterinarian will ask questions about his home environment and behavior and run some tests to determine the triggers for his symptoms. Most pets with asthma or allergies respond well to environmental changes and prescription medication.