Pets Suffer from Allergies - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/8/04 - Tyler

Pets Suffer from Allergies

When Billie Faulkner's allergies kick in, so do her dog's. "Dutch" is just as sensitive as his owner to pollen, mold, and dust mites.

"The pollen aggravates him. And he'll sneeze continuously," Faulkner said. "I'll see a lot of scratching, more scratching than usual. He'll also gnaw at his feet. If he's really agitated, his ears, he'll rub his ears on the rug."

When Dutch's allergies hit hard, Faulkner takes him to see Dr. Schell.

"In general, people sneeze and pets itch," Schell, veterinarian and owner of University Animal Care Clinic in Tyler, said. "Now there is some variation with that. Some pets sneeze and have watery eyes like we do. But because of the way they're put together a little differently than we do, they usually show it more through their skin."

Simply cleaning your dog or cat after it has been outside can help keep allergies under control.

"If they're outside in the grass, just like we itch, from contact with grass, they'll itch," Schell said.

Animals' ears tend to trap allergens, so cleaning them out regularly can stop bacteria from growing inside.

"We do dip his feet to keep the bacteria off of them," Faulkner said. "You know, basically sanitary groom."

But if basic grooming doesn't get rid of the allergies, there are some alternatives. There are a host of allergy medicines veterinarians can prescribe for your pet. And most of them are the same ones humans take, but just in different doses. Dr. Schell advises owners to consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet any over-the-counter allergy medicines that are normally for humans. For extreme allergies, a trip to the vet may be the most effective solution.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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