Is your Golden Retriever an obsessive licker? Do you frequently catch him scratching or biting at his own feet or coat? It can often be hard to know whether it’s allergies or related to another possible health issue.
Just like humans, Goldens can overreact to harmless allergens in the air. If not treated, however, excessive biting and itching of the skin can quickly become the result. Dog allergy season tends to coincide with human allergy season, too. But it's hard sometimes to decipher what the root cause could actually be.
A common type of allergy in dogs is atopy. Atopy refers to environmental allergies ---- a dog’s body releases excess histamine when exposed to higher concentrations of pollen in the air which unfortunately prompts these chronic symptoms.
The most common signs of atopic allergies in dogs are:
Itching / Scratching / Biting / Chewing / Redness inside paw pads and rashes on the body
The itching will likely start seasonally which initially is how you can distinguish between atopy and other types of allergies. But because allergies are often progressive, it’s likely your Golden will eventually become itchy year-round.
If not addressed, secondary bacteria build-up issues due to chronic allergies can also find a home in your Golden's ears and eyes which warrants additional treatment from your Vet.
You can initially help your allergic dog try to fight these awful irritants at home in a few ways ----
Wipe off your dog’s paws to remove allergens after walks, or in the morning when we have dew on the grass, or when it has been raining ---- Pet grooming wipes are a quick way to remove dander and allergens when a full bath isn’t possible.
Try a hypo-allergenic shampoo ---- You can buy most any related anti-itch shampoo over-the-counter at your local pet or drug store. Look for soothing ingredients like aloe, almond, or coconut butter.
Try special prescription shampoos from your Vet ---- Medicated, anti-allergy options are also available at your Vet and can help control large areas of inflammation on the skin.
If the chronic skin itching / biting does not stop or you see the rash or redness areas continue to grow under your Golden's coat, please see your Vet immediately for additional advice for "next steps" in treatment.
Your Vet can also assist you with ruling out other allergy possibilities such as fleas, certain ingredients in foods, or direct contact with specific plants or chemicals in your own backyard.
No one wants to see their furry best friend suffer with itchy skin. If you are diligent with recognizing the possible symptoms early, you can find the right combination of what will work to help your Golden feel healthier and itch-free ---- not to mention A LOT happier.
Do you have a Golden Retriever that has battled chronic allergies and/or skin issues in the past? Any advice or homes remedy treatments that have worked wonders for your dog? Please share them with us at RAGofAZ. We'd love to hear from you. Here's to Good Health, everyone!
Attributed to Karen Page GRRA
Received from Surprise Animal Hospital
We're sure that many of you have seen some of the recent news stories regarding a Leptospirosis (Lepto) outbreak in the valley.
What you need to know: Lepto is a bacteria that is transmitted to dogs, cats and people via contact with the urine of infected animals and also through contaminated sources of stagnant or slow-moving warm water. If an animal is infected, the most commonly observed signs are fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and vomiting. The disease, if left untreated, can become severe requiring aggressive treatment, and does have the potential to be fatal.
Lepto is a very uncommon disease in the valley. Typically patients in our care that have been diagnosed with the disease have recently traveled to the northern areas of the state or beyond. The most recent outbreak in Fountain Hills occurred after a single infected dog was not yet showing signs of illness and visited a dog park. Presumably his contaminated urine at the dog park is what led to disease transmission and illness in many other dogs at that particular dog park.
What you need to do: You should always try to avoid exposure (via swimming, drinking) to stagnant water sources to prevent not only lepto, but also other bacterial infections and parasites. We encourage you to try and prevent your pets from exposure to other unknown animals at this time until we have more information regarding any further extent of this current outbreak.
There is a canine vaccine that protects against certain serovars, or strains, of lepto. It is important to understand that there are 10 strains of the disease, and the available vaccine only prevents four of those strains. The vaccine if administered for the first time does require a booster in 3 weeks to provide adequate protection. The vaccine while generally considered safe, does have a somewhat higher rate of vaccine reactions (which can include vomiting, lethargy, and hives) among pets than our other core vaccines (including rabies, DHPP, and Bordetella).
The overall risk to the average pet in this area is still considered quite low, but we understand the worry over this recent outbreak. We will hopefully have the vaccine available next week in limited supply if you wish to schedule an appointment for this vaccine.
Give us a call with any questions or concerns.
Surprise Animal Hospital, PLC
13954 W. Waddell Road, Ste 109
Surprise, AZ 85379