Hot weather, hay fever, hot spots….

posted on May 21, 2012 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Ah-choo!  Yup, you guessed it, allergy season is here again.  Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system. Immune cells release histamines, which can cause inflammation in the body, usually in the skin, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or respiratory tract.  This leads to secondary issues such as ear infections, skin infections, fungal (yeast) and bacterial infections, pyoderma, hot spots, anal gland issues, sneezing, runny eyes, breathing issues, or vomiting and diarrhea.  In severe cases hives or even anaphylactic shock can occur.
Signs of allergies can include:

  • Asthma problems
  • Runny eyes or nose and sneezing
  • Itching and scratching
  • Licking and chewing, especially of feet, flanks, or tail areas
  • Redness of skin
  • Ear infections-odor, discharge, or redness in ears
  • Skin infections which may present as open sores, pimples, red bumps, dry skin, scabs, and crusts

Pets can be allergic to a number of things, which usually fall into the categories of fleas, environment, and food.  Examples of environmental allergens can include pollens, dust mites, and molds, and examples of food allergens can include meat, grains, and dairy ingredients.

There are many things we can do to help you and your pet manage their allergies including:

  • Treat for fleas-even if not seen, they may be contributing to the problem
  • A food elimination trial-feeding a special diet with no flavored medications or treats for 8 weeks
  • Antihistamine trial
  • Bathing regimen with medicated or otherwise recommended allergy shampoo
  • Steroids or other immunosuppressive medications
  • Allergy testing and desensitization
  • Treating secondary skin or ear infections which may be contributing to the itching

Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your pet’s allergies and come up with a treatment plan specifically for your situation.

Family vacations-to take the pet or not?

posted on May 07, 2012 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

No question, pets are part of the family nowadays. However, this does not always mean they should do everything the family does. A common question we get asked during the summer months is whether or not to take the pet with during travel. There is no overall best answer for this, but there are a couple of things that we ask to help us determine what will be best for your pet.

  • Does your pet travel well-car rides, carrier, planes, or are they vocal, vomiting, drooling, and stressed during transport?  There are medications to help with anxiety, so this in and of itself does not preclude them from travelling, but it is one point to consider.
  • What are you doing during your vacation-staying at the cabin or with relatives or going to a destination where you plan on many excursions during the day?  If you are planning a destination where you expect to be out of your lodgings for most of the day seeing local attractions, what will your pet be doing during that time?
  • And probably most importantly-does your hotel/cruise/airline/relatives etc. allow pets?

If you feel that you are going on a pet friendly vacation and wish to bring Fido or Fluffy with, we are there to help. We can get you medications for anxiety during travel if appropriate, fill out health certificates for interstate or inter-country travel, and perform well care necessary to make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and other requirements. We may discuss additional vaccines, dewormings, or flea, tick or heartworm preventatives if your destination warrants it. Call us today for an appointment to get your pet ready for jet-setting fun!

If you feel that Fluffy or Fido would be better staying home this vacation, we offer boarding services for dogs, cats, and other pets. They will get loving attention and veterinary grade care each day they are here. If you are concerned because your pet has never been boarded before, we can also do daycare as a trial before you leave. Please call us for reservations.

Happy tails, er, trails my friends!