Stopping the Itches



It’s that time of year again where our pets are more likely to be itching and scratching. This is uncomfortable and frustrating for them, and frustrating for us, especially if it gets to the point where our furry family members are keeping us awake scratching all night. The good news is, that while many causes of itching can be complicated, there are ways that we can manage it so that we can keep our furry friends happy and comfortable over the warm summer months.

Most itching and skin issues are caused by parasitic disease, such as flea infestations, or allergies to food, environmental allergens, or flea bites. Get in touch with us if your pet is having any of these issues.

Spring and summer weather provides optimal conditions for the breeding of fleas; this is why we see more flea-related issues at this time of year. The adult flea that we see on the animal comprises only 5% of the flea life cycle. The remainder is made up of the eggs, larvae and pupae that live in the environment. Continuous year-round flea treatment will reduce the number of eggs produced, and using a high quality flea bomb such as indorex in the house can help to control all stages of the flea life cycle. Continuous, year round treatment is especially important for those pets with Flea Allergy Dermatitis, where it takes just one flea bite to start a cycle of intense itching. We have a range of tablet, collar, and spot-on treatments available and are more than happy to discuss the options that best suit your household. Remember that all pets in the house should be treated at the same time for best results.

Food allergies are usually seen year round, although flare ups may be seen with the warmer weather. These can be controlled by strictly limiting the diet to ensure that your pet does not have access to whatever component they are allergic to. Diet options include feeding only a protein and carbohydrate source that your pet is not allergic to (a novel protein/carbohydrate), such as Hill’s d/d, or feeding a diet where the protein has been broken into short amino acid chains that the body does not recognize as a protein that it is allergic to. Prescription diets such as Hill’s z/d, and Royal Canin Hypoallergenic or Anallergenic are examples of this type of diet.

Allergies to environmental allergens are common in pets. These can be allergens in the home environment or something that the animal comes into contact with when out and about at parks or beaches. There are many tools we can use to manage allergies and your veterinarian can help you decide what the best strategy is for your pet.
Dietary changes can help by providing the skin with the building blocks that it needs for healthy regeneration.  This means that the skin is less likely to allow allergens in where they can set off an inflammatory reaction. Hill’s Derm Defense is a good diet that helps to support the skin in this way and is designed to help manage environmental allergies.

Other tools we have for environmental allergies include anti-itch medication. In the past this has been limited to steroids (prednisone) but now that we have access to Apoquel we can control itching fast without the nasty side effects that can be seen with steroid use.

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Kohimarama Vets

325 Kohimarama Road
St Heliers, Auckland 1071