886 S Pine St, PO Box 277

Grantsburg, WI 54840

Phone: (715) 463-2536

1(800) 924-0588

140 Evergreen Square SW

Pine City, MN 55063

Phone: (320) 629-7474

May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month

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For the past several years, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has promoted asthma and allergy awareness during the month of May. While the campaign is aimed at humans, it's always a good idea for pet owners to be aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these conditions in their animal friends. Since dogs and cats display different reactions to allergy and asthma triggers than people do, it can be difficult to know when they are suffering unless you know the symptoms.
Common Classifications of Allergies in Dogs and Cats
Animal allergies typically fall into three distinct categories. These include:
  • Atopy:  The most common type of allergy in pets is usually seasonal. Your dog or cat may be allergic to pollen in the spring, ragweed in the fall, and dust mites in the winter when she spends more time inside. Symptoms include rubbing the face, chewing the feet, constant licking in in the groin area or on the sides, inflammation, ear infections, wheezing and respiratory distress, and scabs or areas of baldness across the body.
  • Contact Dermatitis: Your pet may develop contact dermatitis when parts of his body touch something he is sensitive to. Common examples include carpet cleaners and flea collars. Symptoms of this type of allergy include intense scratching and loss of fur in severe cases. You will notice small red bumps, especially on his muzzle, feet, and belly.
  • Food: Up to 15 percent of allergies in companion animals are to food ingredients. Itching typically occurs in the anal area, limbs, trunk, face, and feet. Your dog or cat may develop chronic ear infections, skin infections, or have an increased amount of soft stool. Food intolerance, which is not a true allergy, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. We carry foods for special diets in our online store.
Asthma in Companion Animals
Cats are much more prone to asthma than dogs, but their owners often fail to recognize it. One reason for this is that an asthma attack in a cat can look like she is trying to cough up a hairball. Common asthma triggers in pets include car exhaust, fireplace or cigarette smoke, mold, mildew, household cleaners, pollen, dust, flea spray, and room deodorizers. Coughing is the primary symptom of animal asthma. Severe untreated asthma can cause daily panting and wheezing that can occasionally become life-threatening.
Treating Allergies and Asthma in Your Pet
For both allergies and asthma, the best form of treatment is to eliminate the trigger that caused it if possible. Since dogs with atopy allergies still need to go outside where triggers are present, we can prescribe a medication, specialty shampoo, or steroid treatment. Please click here to view the allergy relief products in our online store.
With asthma, treatment may consist of steroids, bronchodilators, or antihistamines. We may need to combine some of these to prevent flare-ups most effectively. If your pet has a severe asthma attack, it may be necessary to give him oxygen therapy. The good news is that with diligence on your part and careful evaluation on ours, your pet with allergies or asthma can lead a long and happy life. Additionally, the veterinarians at Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic check for signs of allergies or asthma at your pet’s annual preventive care exam

Keep These Safety Considerations in Mind This Spring

Safety Considerations
Every season presents safety hazards for your pet, and spring is no exception. Your pet’s natural curiosity means that she can find trouble both inside and outside the home. The tips below will help you develop a dog or cat’s mindset as you pet-proof for the spring season.
Seasonal Cleaning
If you’re like many of your neighbors in the Grantsburg, Wisconsin or Wild River, Minnesota area, spring cleaning is an annual rite of passage. When you have pets, it’s important to keep cleaning products out of their reach. Even cleaning products with natural ingredients could make your pet ill if ingested. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the following household cleaning products are most toxic for pets: bleach, carpet fresheners and shampoos, fabric softener sheets, toilet cleaning tablets, and vinegar.
After looking at a brown lawn for months, Minnesotans can’t wait to start working on their lawn in the spring. Just keep in mind that fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and mulch can all have a toxic effect on your dog or cat. Be certain that you follow instructions on the label exactly and keep all products for your lawn and garden out of your pet’s reach. When mowing the grass or working in the garden, keep your pet indoors if possible.
Consider Screens for Your Windows
A cool breeze blowing through the house can feel better than air conditioning sometimes. However, your dog or cat could jump out an open window suddenly in response to noise or just to investigate what’s outside. If you prefer to keep your windows open, make sure each one has a screen so your pet can remain safe inside the house.
More Fleas and Ticks
Warm weather usually means more time spent outdoors. As welcome as this is, spring also means an increase in the prevalence of fleas and ticks. Ticks can infect your pet with serious illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease while fleas can cause allergic dermatitis. If you need help choosing the right flea and tick prevention product for your pet, just let us know.
Home Improvements
Many people wait until spring to add a room, paint their house, repair a wall, or complete other home improvement projects. It’s important to know your pet’s location before you get started. Your curious pet might decide to lick fresh paint or end up with a nail in his paw in the split second your turn your attention elsewhere. To avoid an emergency, plan to keep your dog or cat contained in another room or with a sitter until you have completed the project. 
Emergency Information
We encourage you to create a first aid kit for your pet and to keep it in a location you can get to easily. If you need immediate help, contact us after hours at 1-800-924-0588 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661. During regular hours, you can schedule an appointment at either clinic by calling 715-463-2536 locally or 1-800-924-0588.

Photo Credit: JLSnader / Getty Images