Here in the UK, we spend the majority of the year eagerly anticipating the return of summer. We just can’t wait for the rain to clear, the sun to rise, and the Great British summertime to finally be upon us. However, while the majority of us love it, for many ‘summer’ is synonymous with two other dreaded words:
Every year, it seems like more and more of us are being affected by hay fever, relying on countless medications to get us through the summer months. But, while we treat ourselves when we feel the symptoms coming on, we often don’t consider how our furry friends might be affected.
So, can dogs get hay fever?
Around one in five people in the UK are affected by hay fever (technical name ‘allergic rhinitis’). The allergy is conditioned by the inflammation of the lining of the nose and eyes when exposed to allergens, such as pollen, that occur more prominently during the summer months.
Although dogs are prone to allergic reactions, the specific manifestations of hay fever are incredibly rare. In fact, pollen typically affects dogs more on their skin, while sneezing and snuffling is usually just a minor response.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible for your dog to get hay fever, however, and there are simple ways to treat them if they do begin to struggle. Much like human treatments, there are a variety of ani-inflammatory eye and nose drops on the market for dogs that are likely to help.
My Dog Doesn’t Have Hay Fever, But His Eyes Are Running. Why?
Aside from hay fever, there are many other conditions that can cause your dog’s eyes to run. If your dog’s eyes do start running, it’s a sign that they’re in discomfort, and you should seek veterinary attention immediately.
This can be caused by foreign objects being being lodged in the eye, scratches, or ulcers on the surface of the eyeball. Another common illness, that almost half of owners are unaware of, is Dry Eye – and one that should be treated as soon as possible.
What Is Dry Eye?
Dry Eye is a condition where insufficient tears are produced by tear glands, causing the surface of the eye to dry out. It’s usually an auto-immune condition, and can be quite painful if it’s not recognised in the early stages.
In fact, the consequences are quite severe – scarring and even blindness is possible – so it’s vital that you check your dog’s eyes regularly.
Symptoms of Dry Eye include:
- Discharge from one or both eyes
- Conjunctivitis or ulcers are a sign
- Signs of discomfort – blinking, redness, or rubbing
- Dry or dull eyes
Is My Breed At Risk?
While Dry Eye is possible in all breeds of dog, it is more prominent in some than in others. Breeds of dog prone to Dry Eye include:
- Cocker Spaniels
- West Highland White Terriers
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
As we say, any breed of dog can contract Dry Eye, so it’s important to keep a look out.
What Are The Treatments?
Unfortunately, Dry Eye usually requires life-long treatment as it is largely incurable. The good news, though, is that there are many treatments readily available. The three main treatments include:
- A daily immunosuppressant drop that can be applied at home, stopping the immune system from attacking the tear glands
- Another treatment is artificial tears, which provide lubrication on the surface of the eye and relieve discomfort
- There is also a surgical option, redirecting saliva to the lining of the eye. This low flow of saliva helps provide effective lubrication, however will mean that your dog will effectively cry whenever they see food…