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Pet Allergies on the Increase!

Experts say that people aren’t the only ones increasingly affected by allergies. Pets are suffering too.  Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms including mild to severe skin conditions, tummy upsets and recurrent ear infections. Constant itching, scratching and breaking wind (some of the things we love least about our pets) could be symptoms of an allergy, and may be relieved by a simple change in diet.

Identifying the cause of an allergy can be tricky as there are many different allergens, including parasites (particularly fleas), food (beef, dairy and wheat allergies are the most common) and inhaled allergens, such as pollen and dust mites.  To further complicate matters, your pet may be allergic to more than one.  But in most cases, feeding a special allergy diet and initiating strict flea control, can help relieve your pet’s allergy problem.

Bertie, a Bedlington Terrier from Durban , had been plagued by chronic ear infections his entire adult life.  His owners, Ken and Claire Lambert, desperately sought a cure, but despite various treatments the problem worsened and they decided it might be kinder to have Bertie put to sleep.  Their vet suggested they first try a food scientifically formulated for dogs with allergies (Hill’s Prescription Diet® d/d) and within two weeks Bertie was much better. 

“Since eating the Hill’s diet Bertie is a completely different dog,” said Ken Lambert.  “Before, he was always unhappy, depressed and itchy.  He would constantly scratch his ears and feet.  Now you can see he feels so much better.”

“I suffer from a wheat allergy,” said Claire Lambert, “so when Dr Mostert said it might be food, it did make sense.  Now Bertie is like a puppy again.”

Dr Ninette Keller, specialist veterinarian and lecturer at Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science says that “eighty percent of animals with a food allergy will present with an ear infection.”

More prevalent than ear infections are skin problems - one of the most common reasons for vet visits.  Symptoms of an allergic skin condition can vary from fairly mild, just dry patches, to severe, with excessive hair loss and secondary skin infections. 

Emily, a Maltese Poodle from Durban , initially had dry skin near her tail, but her condition rapidly deteriorated until she was almost completely bald.  Her back was a crusted, weeping sore, “she really was a mess,” said veterinarian Dr Easson.  With great care and expertise Dr Easson brought Emily back to health by treating the secondary skin infections and changing her diet to a hypo-allergenic diet for animals.

In a recent clinical study, 70% of animals on the Hill’s Prescription Diet® d/d experienced a reduction in itching, scratching, licking and skin redness within four weeks.  This diet is proven to help manage inflammatory skin and gastro-intestinal conditions in both cats and dogs. 

If your pet suffers from itchy, sore/red skin, ear infections and / or gastro-intestinal upsets including flatulence and diarrhoea, see your vet immediately and ask about allergies and Hill’s Prescription Diet® d/d.

For more information call the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Careline toll free on (0800) 228 783 on log onto www.HillsPet.com