Warmer weather is finally on its way and pharmacies up and down the country are stocking up on hayfever and allergy remedies. In humans, allergies are mediated by a molecule called histamine and can manifest in several ways from skin rashes to upset stomachs and to the classical summer runny nose and eyes. Antihistamines help with many of these symptoms by blocking the actions of histamine. In animals however, allergies are mediated by several different molecules release by mast cells and histamine plays only a minor role. Other differences in allergies in animals are the symptoms seen – rather than runny eyes/nose, animals develop itchy, irritable skin (often the paws) and ears. As the skin is itchy the animal may lick, chew and scratch the area involved creating complex skin lesions. There are several different treatments for allergies in animals:

  • steroids can suppress the immune response responsible for causing allergic reactions;
  • apoquel is a new drug that specifically acts to reduce the allergic immune response;
  • allergy testing is also very useful to identify what the animal is allergic to, this allergen can then be administered in small amounts to help reduce the immune response to these allergens;
  • antihistamines are usually quite ineffective in animals and tend to cause sleepiness

If you are worried that your pet may have an allergy or would like more advice on different treatment options please seek the advice of one of our vets or nurses

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