Springs most common allergens and how they can affect our animals

Spring in New Zealand brings about a vibrant burst of life as flowers bloom, trees flourish, and the landscape transforms into a colourful spectacle. However, with this rejuvenation comes a rise in allergenic triggers that can affect our beloved animal companions.

One of the most common spring allergens in New Zealand is pollen. Pollen grains are released by various plants, including grasses, trees, and weeds, as part of their reproductive process. These tiny particles are carried by the wind and can trigger allergic reactions. Horses and dogs may inhale pollen, leading to respiratory distress and irritation. Symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, wheezing and nasal discharge. In severe cases, pollen allergies can exacerbate conditions like asthma and bronchitis in these animals.

Another prevalent spring allergen is mould spores. Spring’s increased humidity and dampness provide an ideal environment for mould growth. Horses and dogs may come into contact with mould spores in their living spaces or during outdoor activities. Inhalation of mould spores can lead to respiratory issues, skin irritation and allergic reactions. Animals with mould allergies may scratch excessively, develop skin rashes, or exhibit signs of discomfort.

Additionally, certain flowering plants, such as the pohutukawa tree, can produce allergenic compounds that affect animals. Direct contact with these plants can lead to skin allergies, including itching, redness and inflammation. In some cases, ingestion of plant material can also cause gastrointestinal upset.

Fleas and ticks are another concern during spring, as they become more active in warmer weather. Flea bites can trigger allergic reactions in animals, causing intense itching and discomfort. Scratching and biting at the affected areas can lead to skin infections. Ticks can transmit diseases that impact the overall health of horses and dogs.

You can take several steps to mitigate the impact of spring allergens. Regular grooming and bathing can help remove pollen, mould spores and other allergens from their fur and skin. Keeping living spaces clean and well-ventilated can reduce the presence of mould. Using appropriate medications and regularly checking for parasites can help keep flea and tick infestations at bay. 

While spring in New Zealand brings about a beautiful transformation in the natural landscape, it also introduces a range of allergenic triggers that can affect our animal companions. Pollen, mould spores, flowering plants, and parasites like fleas and ticks are among the most common allergens during this season. Being attentive to the needs of horses and dogs, practising proper grooming, and employing preventive measures can help ensure their well-being and comfort as they navigate the joys and challenges of spring.