Orange veterinarians warn dog owners to watch for allergies and grass seeds

GOOD FRIEND: Veteriarian Andrew Denman checks over Rumour the rescued greyhound for grass seeds. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 1124pbdog4

GOOD FRIEND: Veteriarian Andrew Denman checks over Rumour the rescued greyhound for grass seeds. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 1124pbdog4

Next time you suffer from hay fever, spare a thought for your four-legged friend.

Dogs of all breeds and sizes have been presenting to vets across the city suffering from allergies and problems caused by grass seeds.

Orange Vet Hospital’s Andrew Denman said dogs could suffer from allergies just as humans did, but they weren’t always from airborne pollen.

“They can be contact allergies from laying on grass or running through it,” Dr Denman said.

“Where they have a nice health fur coat, it’s no problem, but the dogs will itch on their bellies or paws.”

Dr Denman said the allergies can mean dogs are continually licking, biting or scratching themselves, it can lead to animals causing themselves more harm.

“It’s when the itch is so bad that the dog has caused self-trauma,” Dr Denman said.

As soon as humans start getting hay fever symptoms, we start seeing dogs having similar symptoms. - Veterinary surgeon Andrew Denman

“If you hear the dog scratching at night constantly, then that warrants attention.”

He said contact allergies can come from weeds growing in the backyard, or dog walking on different types of grass. Hay fever can also affect dogs and Dr Denman said owners should watch for runny noses or even a slight cough.

“As soon as humans start getting hay fever symptoms, we start seeing dogs having similar symptoms,” he said.

He said by the time dogs have red puffy eyes the problem has become serious. Dr Denman said dogs could be treated with specialised anti-histamines.

Lauren Tardiani from the Canobolas Family Vet Hospital said five to 10 dogs a week presented with issues around grass seeds.

“There’s no one breed at risk, it’s all dogs. A lot of working working dogs are at risk because of long grass and dogs with longer hair are more at risk,”  Dr Tardiani said.

“Short hair dogs aren’t immune, they can breathe them in and they can get caught in ears or paws.”

Dr Tardiani said vigilance and good grooming were easy ways to stop grass seeds becoming problematic.

“If (seeds) get stuck in ears, dogs can become irritable or be scratching at ears, they can cause lumps on bodies. If they’re inhaled they can lodge anywhere and cause serious problems and are potentially fatal.”

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