Pet health solutions for digestive and skin allergy flare-ups
During today’s difficult economic times, many vet clinics are receiving numerous phone calls each day from animal guardians looking for at-home suggestions for treating simple acute problems, as opposed to paying for costly veterinary exams and workups. In the earlier article about pet owner misconceptions, I reviewed some statistics and a few medical examples of how certain conditions can often resolve on their own, or with just supportive care at home. Two of the most common areas of phone inquiries revolve around acute digestive upset in their pets or skin/ear allergy flare-ups.
In both of these broad conditions, one of the most important things I’ll often tell clients is to fast their pets for 24 to 48 hours, offering fresh water several times daily and/or chicken or vegetable broth. That is unless the pet is a diabetic or has some other chronic disease like cancer, where consultation with their pet should be done first before fasting. However, often fasting a pet like this and then reintroducing a bland, cooked, lean white meat turkey and sweet potato or rice diet after a 48-hour fast will often calm the digestive or skin symptoms. In addition, over-the-counter Pepcid AC or Famotidine (at a dose of 1/2 mg per pound) once daily can often help settle a sour stomach or vomiting pet.
If a pet is suffering from diarrhea, short term use of Imodium or Lomotil can sooth an irritable bowel, along with use of slippery elm from the health food store. An excellent probiotic such as Fast Balance by Vetriscience also can quickly calm either diarrhea or vomiting symptoms in either dogs or cats. For the common hairball vomiting problem in cats, Laxatone or Petromalt Hairball Remedy can help soothe an acute flare-up of vomiting.
As for skin or ear allergy problems, including allergic hot spots and focal areas of intense itching and dermatitis, this can often be soothed by topical sprays, creams or oils. Some products I recommend include the all natural Be Soothed, Dermaguard, or Genesis spray. During allergy season itching, shampooing every few days with a product like Aloe Vera and Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner can help alleviate skin symptoms. Excel Hydrocortisone Shampoo can also be very effective. Oral treatment with antihistamines like Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or Chlorphenirimine will also help to ease itching symptoms in many cases. I’ve seen the wonderful product Zymox Otic HC work miracles in those pets with acutely inflamed ears. Of course if symptoms intensify or worsen, or if you are ever in doubt, a veterinary exam and consultation is always best.