Queensland grasses are quite woody in comparison to southern grass types, as a result, when the whether gets dry after we have had some rain. Grass’s go to “seed” – these seeds are often covered in small spines that allow them to stick to people and pets as they walk in our parks. Without good preventative care grass seeds can sneak their way into your pet’s paws, ears, nostrils, or eyes, and can cause some complicated health problems.
The best cure of course in prevention – after each walk hose brush your pet down with a comb to remove loose seeds and burrs. Then rinse them off with plain old water.
If grass seeds are not removed and are left untreated, they can cause some irritating issues. These can include:-
- ear infections
- abscess formation
- ruptured eardrums
- loss of an eye
- or even an Aural Hematoma.
The most common presentation is an interdigital abscess
Treatment for grass seeds can be extremely complicated and often require an anesthetic.
Prevention is the key! To minimise the risk to your pet, we recommend the following;
- Keep an eye on the length of your grass. Shorter grass is the best way to minimise the risk of grass seeds.
- Check your pet daily for grass seeds. They could be hiding in their coat, toes, eyes, and ears!
- Regularly groom your dog.
- Avoid dry grass areas when taking your dog out.
Is the cause an Allergy?
The scratching dog is a complicated problem that involves many factors, there are other causes and signs but the starting point is almost always an allergy.
What are allergies?
An allergy is an abnormal reaction to common substances such as dust, pollen, fleas, grasses and plants, or certain foods. The allergic reaction in dogs is triggered by exposure to these agents through inhalation. contact with the skin or via ingestion. After becoming sensitized to an offending allergen, the dog is likely to remain so for the rest of its life. Thus allergy control is the answer rather than a cure.
Do all dogs develop allergies?
It is possible for all dogs to exhibit allergies. Statistics show that 15-20% of dogs experience allergy disorders. Certain breeds, however, have been reported to be more likely to develop them.
What are the signs?
Dogs rarely experience the sneezing and watery eyes associated with allergies in humans. Instead, the most common allergic signs in dogs include repetitive scratching, licking or biting of a localized area of the body. This may lead to hair loss, scaly skin and even open sores.
What types of treatment are available?
A variety of treatments are available to control allergy. The most obvious of these is avoidance of the allergen. That's easy to say but often very hard to do because either we don't know what the dogs are allergic to, or it is actually impossible to avoid completely what they are allergic to. i.e. the grass or plants in the backyard or the neighbours flowering tree. The use of anti-allergy drugs can also be useful. In humans, antihistamines are commonly used and very effective for allergy relief. in dogs, unfortunately, they are much less effective with only about 1/3 of dogs getting any relief at all. The most effective treatment used to be corticosteroids such as prednisolone and these can be in the form of topical cream, tablets or injections which give immediate relief but have side effects if used long term.
Good quality diets, low allergenic diets, regular bathing in medicated shampoos, control of secondary bacterial and fungal infections of the skin and 100% flea control are important measures that will reduce the effects of allergies in your dog by keeping their skin healthier.
New Treatment Options
We now have a number of newer targeted treatment options available that have significantly less side effects than the therapies mentioned above! These treatments need to formulated and discussed on an individual pet basis. Make an appointment today to have you buddy checked out!
I dont think it can be underestimated how important diet is to dogs skin health. While true food allergy is quite rare, there is no doubt diet plays a major role in managing skin disease.
What is Immunotherapy?
This type of therapy inhibits the ability of antibodies to cause an allergic reaction. The principal mechanism involves lowering the patient's sensitivity to offending allergens by injecting the patient routinely with a series of a low dose of an allergenic extract, much like a vaccine. First the patient is allergy tested and then the vaccine is formulated specifically for those particular allergies. The prescription dose is gradually increased over a period of time until a maintenance level is attained and symptoms are relieved.
Each dogs response to immunotherapy is unique, and the length of time necessary for improvement and the amount of improvement varies accordingly.
Worried about your pet and Coronavirus?
We know some of our pet owners are concerned about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and can it be passed to pets? Here is some information to help.
What you need to know about COVID-19 and your pets.
A report about a Hong Kong Pomeranian has caused concern among some pet owners. On the 4th March the Hong Kong SAR Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) reported that the dog tested “weakly positive” to COVID-19. Following confirmation that the dog’s owner was positive for the virus causing COVID-19. The Hong Kong authorities believe this finding may indicate the dog has a low-level of infection. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of disease and is currently being held in quarantine. At this stage there is no evidence that pets can play a role in the spread of this human disease, or that they become sick. COVID-19 is an ever-evolving situation, its best to ensure precautionary steps are taken when handling pets.
Precautionary steps to follow as a pet owner:
- Follow good hygiene when interacting with your pets.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any animal.
- Avoid sharing food with your pets or letting your pets kiss or lick your face or mouth.
- Keep your pet’s vaccinations and parasite treatments up to date and maintain regular veterinary health checks.
What should you do if your pet has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
There is currently no evidence that suggests pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection to other animals or to humans. This virus is being spread from human to human. Should your pet develop an unexplained illness, contact your public health official and your local Vet. It’s important to explain that your pet has been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 should this be the case.
Should I quarantine myself from my pets?
Pet owners who are or may become infected with COVID-19 should restrict close contact with their pets. Appropriate hand hygiene practices before and after handling pets is critical.
How should I get veterinary attention if I am quarantined and my pet is sick?
Kalinga Park can over veterinary consultations via Skype and other online platforms ring us on 0733571588 to discuss – we can also arrange medication delivery to your mail box for local customers.
For more information visit these websites ;
Of all the reasons a cat or dog requires a visit to the Veterinary Surgery, an ear problem is among the most common. Caring for a pet's ears does not need to be complicated, but they are not the same as a human ear and do require a little bit of TLC.
Their deep, curved ear canals make it difficult for air to get in and moisture to get out and moisture retained in the ear after swimming or bathing can often lead to infections. Spring and summer when it is hot and particularly when it is humid is the worst time of the year for ear infections. Not only are ear infections likely to occur but quite often they are difficult to cure. In brisbane one of the most common underlying causes of ear problems is allergies, untreated it will lead to secondary complications. Bacterial infestation, fungal infestation, ear mites and foreign bodies such as grass seeds are the also common causes of ear irritations.
Ten Important signs of Ear problems
- Odour - bad odour coming from the ears
- Scratching at the ears
- Excessive discharge (usually yellow, brown or black)
- Inflammation - redness of the ear flap or canal
- Shaking the head or ears
- Obvious pain when touched around the head or ears
- Head tilted to one side or held down
- Stumbling or circling to one side
- Lethargy or depression
- Marked swelling of the ear flaps
If your dog or cat is showing any of these signs then a visit to the veterinarian is necessary, as there is a high likelihood an ear problem is present.
What can you do?
The best way to prevent ear problems is to establish a regular ear care program aimed at preventing such problems from developing.
Keep ears dry. Ears should be dried thoroughly after bathing or swimming.
- Cleaning. A regular ear clean following your dog's bath using an alcohol-based ear cleaning solution such as Epi-Otic or Bayer Ear Cleaning solution will remove any dirt or wax buildup that may encourage infections. All of these cleaners are readily available over the counter at the surgery without consultation.
- Clipping/Plucking. It is important to clip or pluck the hair from around the ear canal. Dogs that do not shed hair such as Poodles, Schnauzers, Bichons, Labradoodles, Spoodles etc. often need to have hair plucked from the canals. This allows better air flow into the canal and prevents wax from being trapped thus reducing the chance an infection will develop.
- Controlling skin disease. Many ear infections are simply a continuation of a generalized skin condition such as bacterial or fungal infection. When this happens it is impossible to treat the ear infection without controlling the skin disease.
Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and even more frequently called “Wandering Jew”. Is an extremely common cause of contact allergies in our doggy friends. This plant is extremely common in the Queensland backyard, often accepted as a ground cover plant in some gardens. Here is a range of pictures of various subspecies and their flowers. As you can see the species can have many forms.
Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. The problem normally affects the underbelly, armpits and groin of the dog, as well as ears and face. Starting as pustules surrounded by red skin which the dog will self-traumatize – occassionally leading the bleeding and raw skin.
In the past few weeks I have seen at least 6 cases of confirmed allergy to this plant. The best recommendation I can give is to remove the plant from the garden. Failing that prevent their dog accessing the plant.
From the DPI QLD website. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_7385_ENA_HTML.htm
In a recent review of this article I was able to identify another species of plant that may be incorrectly identified as Wandering Jew and is probably more common in south east Queensland. This plant is not considered a noxious weed however does seem very good at proliferating in sunny areas.
I am still unsure as to whether this species is also allergenic but I suspect it might be. The plant has small hairs on the main stems that could plausibly cause allergic reaction in dogs.
A native of South America, wandering jew ([wiki id=en]Tradescantia fluminernsis[/wiki]), also called Trad, is a fleshy-leaved creeping plant that grows as a ground cover.
A good, non-invasive native alternative to wandering jew is scurvy grass (Commelina diffusa).
Wandering jew is not a declared plant under Queensland legislation, however its control is recommended.
|Scientific name||Tradescantia fluminernsis|
|Habitat and distribution||
Based on this information and the fact that it causes problems for our canine companions I think it should be removed from gardens. To remove it your best bet is a good metal rake. “Rinse and repeat fortnightly as they say” Herbicides are not effective not to mention unhealthy.
Treatments depends on the severity of the case. Mild cases may just need a bath to wash away the allergens. Moderate cases may need an injection of cortisone to relieve the allergic reaction. Severe ongoing cases may need more intestive therapy with antibiotics, pain relief and anti- inflammatories.
Call us on 33571588 for more information