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Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Pets Feeling Fabulous Through Winter!

A Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists patient receives sublingual immunotherapy
A Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists patient receives sublingual immunotherapy

Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists Offers the Top 5 Tips To Keep Your Pets Feeling Fabulous Through Winter!

It's not just humans who can be allergic to the house dust mite.  Your pets can be allergic too!  In fact, about 75% of household pets with year round itching can be affected by house dust mite hypersensitivity.  House dust mites can be found in every single household (that's a lot of dust mites!)  And, it can become troublesome for "Fido" when he starts to feel the itch!

While house dust mite hypersensitivity causes year round itch, the problem becomes exacerbated when we start to spend more time indoors for winter.  When pet parents turn on the heaters and furnaces, dust mites begin to blow around.  Combine that with the indoor heat and humidity and the problem becomes magnified.  You may notice your pet scratching, chewing and biting which could lead to infection if not caught early.

So, what is a pet owner to do?  Dr. Lauren Pinchbeck, a board certified veterinary dermatologist with Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists (NVDS) says you have to go beyond providing immediate relief in the form of medication (steroids), which can have its own side effects and no permanent solution.  Here are Dr. Pinchbeck's top tips:

1.  Get a definitive diagnosis by a board certified veterinary dermatologist.

2.  Decrease the levels of house dust mites, within your home.  You can purchase barrier covers for mattresses, pillows and box springs (where many dust mites live) so they can't escape.   Don't allow your pet to sleep on your bed.  Also, eliminate rugs/carpets and opt for hard flooring whenever possible.

3.  Clean your pet's bed.  Wash it frequently in hot water.

4.  Keep your pet out of the basement, which can be more humid than other rooms in the house.  Humidity is a breeding ground for dust mites.  You want to de-humidify as much as possible. 

5.  You can never eliminate the dust mite completely, so your in-home efforts will need to be combined with ongoing allergy injections or sublingual immunotherapy for your pet.   Sublingual immunotherapy is a treatment that has recently been adapted from human medicine for pets.  Board certified veterinary dermatologists can create a serum of "exposure to the allergen" in the form of drops that are put into the pet's mouth by the pet owner.  After long-term exposure to the allergen, the pet experiences decreased sensitivity and symptoms.   A pet owner who opts for allergy injections is taught how to give the injections at home.  This works the same way in providing long-term exposure to the allergen.  But, instead of giving the drops via the mouth, it is given as an injection.

Immunotherapy is a long term intervention for atopic dermatitis, intended to be given for the life of the pet. It is the only intervention that changes the immune system and has the potential to make pets tolerant to this environmental allergen.  In well characterized animals, 70% have a good to excellent response to immunotherapy and 30% do not respond. The full response may take 12 months.

SPEAKING OPPORTUNITIES:  To invite Dr. Lauren Pinchbeck or Dr. Nina Shoulberg of NVDS to speak to your group about pet dermatology topics, please contact Kelly Farnan at Kelly.Farnan@FetchingCommunications.com

About Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists (NVDS): Northeast Veterinary Dermatology Specialists is a full-service dermatology practice, with a dedicated team of veterinary staff treating diseases involving the skin, hair, ears, and nails. Services, tests and procedures provide the most effective, safe and state-of-the-art care in New York and Connecticut. Animal dermatology and allergy specialists Dr. Nina Shoulberg and Dr. Lauren Pinchbeck, and their veterinary technicians, treat diseases stemming in part from allergies, bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasitic infestations, endocrine disorders, and immune-mediated diseases. Services include: intradermal and serum testing for airborne allergens, immunotherapy, the diagnosis and treatment of ear diseases using video otoscopy, and removal of skin tumors using a carbon dioxide laser. Find out more at http://www.nevetdermatology.com/ or call 914-777-DERM (3376) to make an appointment at any of 8 locations. “Like” NVDS on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/nevetdermatology

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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