MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In honor of National Cat Day, Local 24 is delving into pet health. This includes both cats and dogs. Local animal hospitals have been noticing an increase in pets with allergic reactions.
Local 24 News Reporter Brittani Moncrease found out why.
Usually, pet owners are taught when your dog or cat has an allergic reaction, it is typically from their food. Well, that is false.
It is best to turn to a veterinarian for help.
Local 24 News turned to Dr. Angie Zinkus with Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital.
"Food allergies, we used to think it was a major point of allergies. What we know is it’s a combination of different allergies," said Dr. Zinkus.
These are allergies to substances such as pollen, cotton, mold, or even fleas.
“Some dogs and cats are allergic to the flea saliva. One flea can jump on a dog or cat and bite them and you never see them, but your animal can itch for up to seven days,” said Dr. Zinkus.
One thing is for sure. This year, pet allergies have spiked.
“We’re seeing an increase right now. On a daily basis, I might see three or four ear infections, a couple of skin infections too,” said Dr. Zinkus.
“Anytime that you have temperatures that are changing from extremely warm to cooler weather, as we’re seeing here in Memphis right now, you’re going to get pollens and molds and things that are blooming and things that are dying,” said Dr. Zinkus. “Whatever a dog is allergic to, they will, basically, their bodies will react. Their allergy receptors are in their skin, so their ears are lined with skin. Their bodies have skin all over them.”
Dogs' skin is fragile.
“You get secondary yeast and bacteria that set up shop. That’s where you see skin infections and ear infections,” said Dr. Zinkus. “One of the common things we see is I think paw licking. A lot of dogs are allergic to grasses.”
Baths can sometimes do the trick.
“There are shampoos that your veterinarian can recommend to actually build that skin layer. We don’t want to use the shampoos that we use on ourselves,” said Dr. Zinkus.
However, the situation is different for cats.
“Good luck washing a cat. If you can do it, more power to you,” said Dr. Zinkus.
She also explained that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Some dogs may shed less, but they are not hypoallergenic.