WSVN -- Humans aren't the only ones who suffer from watery, itchy eyes and red, flaky skin. Seasonal allergies can make your dog feel under the weather too.
Alvin Aguilar, Pet Owner: "She was really miserable, she wouldn't even fetch a ball because it was that uncomfortable for her."
Sarah is normally a playful pup, but this four year old Golden Retriever wasn't acting like herself. She was biting and scratching constantly.
Alvin Aguilar: "It got to the point where she literally chewed off almost all her hair from her belly."
Dr. Alison Flynn-Lurie, Miami Veterinary Specialists: "I would say about 75 percent of my dogs are allergic. My patients are allergic."
Veterinary dermatologist Alison Flynn-Lurie says dogs suffer from seasonal allergies just like people do, and there are certain signs pet owners need to watch out for.
Dr. Alison Flynn-Lurie: "Rubbing the face, itching the face, licking the paws, both the tops and the bottoms, and also just extreme scratching."
She says if left untreated, allergies can have serious consequences.
Dr. Alison Flynn-Lurie: "Over time they lose their hair. They develop secondary staph infections. Some dogs are so itchy that they don't sleep, they stop eating."
Sarah was in pretty bad shape by the time Dr. Flynn saw her.
Dr. Alison Flynn-Lurie: "She was completely bald and her skin was like elephant skin, it was so thick and black."
There are several options now for seasonal allergies in dogs. Dr. Flynn says one of the most effective treatments is immunotherapy. It's where the skin is tested using different allergens like grass, weeds and dustmites to find out what is causing the allergy symptoms. Then the owner gives the pet an injection once every three weeks to build up a tolerance.
Dr. Alison Flynn-Lurie: "Over time, and it does take time, it changes the way the immune system responds to these pollens."
Alvin has been giving Sarah her allergy shots for about a year now, and he's seen a big difference so far.
Alvin Aguilar: "All her hair has grown back, her skin is like softer."
He says it takes a bit of a commitment, but in the end it's worth it to see your beloved pet happy and healthy!
Alvin Aguilar: "She plays, she fetches, she goes and gets her toys, she's so much better, she's completely happy."
We're told the skin tests and a year of injections costs around $500.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Miami Veterinary SpecialistsDr. Alison Flynn-Lurie8601 Sunset DriveMiami, FL 33143Tel: (305) 665-2820www.mvshospital.com