Friday, August 24, 2012

Ragweed Allergy A Nuisance For Dogs Too

Ragweed is in full bloom here, and will be until late September or early October, when the first frost hits. Luckily, neither Adam or I have seasonal allergies, but Juno more than makes up for what we don't have!

For humans, ragweed allergy results in respiratory difficulties like coughing, sneezing etc., but in dogs, as is the case with most of their allergies, ragweed allergy leads to severe, allover itching. Dogs will lick, scratch, and chew their skin to alleviate the itch, which leads to fur/hair loss and inflamed or open/bleeding areas of skin, which are then prone to bacterial infection.

Enter Vanectyl P...the magic pink pill. After four summers of experimentation with cold water wipe-downs, oatmeal shampoo baths, Benadryl etc., the antibiotic route is the only one we've found to be even mildly effective for our dog.

If Juno sleeps, we sleep. We can hear the licking, scratching, and chewing from just about anywhere in the house, so, at night, if she's doing any of that, we're all awake. All.night.long.

On the bright side, she hasn't needed the pills until today, really - which is about 10 days later than any other previous season! Achievement!

We try to hold out as long as possible - Vanectyl P can be hard on dogs' systems. There's more overall lethargy, increased thirst (which leads to more bathroom trips), and a kind of greasy coating that forms on their coats and around their eyes. But, it beats severe discomfort and infection. And we should be able to stop the medication in about 6 weeks.

Does your dog have seasonal allergies? Interestingly, talking with friends and family outside our region, ragweed doesn't seem to cause the discomfort in any of their dogs...or Juno, when we travel. Must be a valley effect of living here!

Hopefully we can get away from the scratching and back to more of this soon!

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