Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pets and why they shed..

One of my followers MiMi had a question about why her pets are shedding like crazy lately... Here is her question:
I have a question about shedding. My dog and cat have started doing some heavy duty shedding and dandruff creating. It's never been this bad before. It's killing me! I thought they should not shed until summer. Any advice?

Well let me just say that this year has been particularly unbelievable as far as shedding goes, I can't tell you how often I have to dust mop the office lately.
There are many reasons why your pets could be shedding like crazy so here they are:

A change in the seasons. When it gets warmer or colder your pet is going to shed. When they do this they tend to do whats called "blowing their coat". When it goes from winter to summer they blow their heavy undercoat and grow in a thinner coat for the summer to keep cool. When it gets colder your pet will shed that thinner coat and grow in thicker hair and a heavy under coat to stay warm.

Your pet's thyroid could be out of balance. You can have a simple T4 screen done at your vet. If this is the case there are medications that you can give to help level this out. Your pet will probably have to be on this for the rest of his or her life so be prepared for some medication adjustments and frequent blood tests for about a month or two and then annual/bi-annual blood tests (depending on your vets protocal) to make sure that your pet is getting the right dose of medication.

If there has been anything stressful at the home happening such as a big move, a new pet, a lot of visitors, or major changes to your pets environment such as a remodel, changing of furniture, or where your pet normally eats or sleeps.

Your pet could have whats called Demodex , its a skin condition that can cause your pet to shed like crazy and have dandruff. OR you cat could have lice. NOT to worry though because this lice is species specific and it only likes cats or dogs.

If you brought home a new pet from a shelter he/she could have a type of mange mite that can cause the shedding, lice, or the demodex. It is a common thing that happens a lot so if this is the case don't think its you.

Here are a couple things that you could try to help reduce the shedding:

Brush your pet thoroughly daily for a couple weeks and then weekly. Start by brushing the coat out in the opposite direction that it lays. Start from the bottom and work your way up, and then brush in the direction that the coat does lay. This will help them shed that old coat and the new one grow in. Not to mention it will feel good to your pet and it will encourage good grooming habits. You can also take your pet to the groomer if you find that it bothers your sinuses too much.

I also noticed that MiMi was talking about how her allergies seemed to be acting up since the new kitty arrived. I can explain this too.
The reason why you are seeming to be allergic to your new kitty but never before to any other cat it's that the proteins in her saliva are different that your older kitty's. When the new kitten grooms herself her saliva dries on her fur and then later flakes off onto things. You then come along not knowing it is there, and with out realizing it you either stir it up into the air, or you touch it and then your face in some way and directly expose yourself, or if she tends to lay on things like your bed, clothes, favorite place to sit and then you go to that spot your also exposing yourself unknowingly. To help with this try taking a daily allergy pill like clairitin or something like that to help. I know that it sounds weird that you can be allergic to one cat and not the other but trust me I have the same issue at work and it's not just with cats. Some breeds of dogs cause me to have a reaction too. If it seems that you aren't able to cope with the allergy related reaction to your new kitty you made need to re-home her or take her back to the shelter you got her from.

I hope that I was able to answer your questions.
Merry Christmas!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose or prescribe medications for your pet. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing please seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.


MiMi said...

Thank you so much for helping me with my shedding problems I'm having with my dog and cat.I will try the brushing first and see how that goes.

Lisa said...

Wow, that was very helpful! Great post. Thanks a bunch. Lisa

Geri said...

It also costs way less to get your pet's vaccinated than to forget and have them get sick. Vaccinations are really cheap insurance against costly veterinarian bills. Good reminder.

Buddy The Aussie Dog

Buddy The Aussie Dog