We get asked quite a few questions on a daily basis and this one so we thought it would be appropriate to share it with our readers...
Question: Why does my animal itch so much?!
Answer: Unquestionably, this is a loaded question, but we can break it down into three basic categories of why your animal might be itching. The categories include, but are not limited to, allergies, skin parasites, and skin infections.
Skin allergies can be broken down into a food allergy or an environmental allergy. Environmental allergies are diagnosed by doing a skin test (similar to a scratch test in humans) to find out what the animal is allergic to. Once completed, allergy injections are then given to hyposensitize the patient. A food allergy is treated by feeding a hypoallergenic diet with single unique protein ingredients such as fish, rabbit, duck or venison with a single carbohydrate such as potato or rice and no other treats or chewable supplements can be given for a minimum of eight weeks.
Skin parasites include fleas and a variety of mites which can be diagnosed through a physical exam and skin scraping. Parasitic skin infections are treated with dips and oral anti-parasitic medications.
Skin infections are usually secondary to skin allergies and parasites and require antibiotics to resolve it. Without a doubt, skin issues can be very frustrating and time consuming to treat, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with some patience and persistence.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you think your pet may have a skin condition.
Question: My 5 month old lab puppy was just biting at a bee outside a few minutes ago. Now his lips and nose are really swollen. Do we need to do something?
Answer: Your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Most reactions to stings will cause some amount of facial swelling, but in severe cases the reaction can lead to respiratory distress or difficulty breathing.
If you suspect your pet is having a reaction you can give 1mg per pound of Benadryl (25mg for a 25 pound dog) at home. If the Benadryl doesn’t control the swelling, if the swelling is severe, or if your pet is painful or having difficulty breathing, it is time for an emergency trip to your veterinarian. A shot of steroid will quickly stop even a severe reaction.
Prompt treatment for allergic reactions is very effective in preventing any serious complications.
Question: I want to make my own dog treats, what ingredients do I need to avoid?
Answer: With all of the treat recalls of recent years, many people have gone to making their own treats. There are many recipe books specifically designed for homemade dog treats. We would hope that the authors would research the ingredients prior to publishing, but it is better to check out the recipe yourself.
The main ingredients to avoid in the treats would be grapes, raisins, garlic, onion, chocolate, and macadamia nuts. These ingredients are the main toxic human foods.
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, however the quantity of ingestion is not known. Onions and garlic, while mythically said to keep away fleas, can cause the red blood cells within the blood stream to burst and not be able to carry oxygen. Chocolate has different degrees of cocoa which contains theobromine and it's this component that can cause changes to the heart rate and rhythm which can be deadly in high quantities. Finally macadamia nuts can cause hind limb weakness and ataxia (incoordination) even in small quantities.
Don’t let this list of dog treat don’ts scare you though...There are plenty of healthy and delicious homemade dog treat recipes you can try for your pet! They look so delicious, I don’t know if they would ever make it into the dog bowl!
If you ever have questions about these or any ingredients, feel free to give your vet a call, or visit our website at www.pipevet.com.