What triggers allergies in dogs
Think of dogs skin love saran wrap.
It covers and protects the dog. However, dogs with allergies are born with abnormal skin (like holes in the saran wrap). These abnormalities in the skin permit for the allergens, which are normal in every environments, to enter thru the skin layer and set off an allergic response which causes itching and redness. So, it is significant to understand that dogs who suffer from contact allergies do not own normal skin. Additionally, these dogs do not own a healthy immune response.
In addition, this inflammation in the skin will change the health of the skin and permit for secondary invaders such as bacteria and yeast to enter the dog’s system.
In addition, numerous of these dogs own a less than optimal local immune response to these secondary invaders making them more susceptible to yeast and bacterial infections. Yeast and bacteria are always present in low numbers on every dog’s skin.
Unfortunately for dogs with allergies, their skin and immune response are inadequate to fight off these secondary invaders.
Skin Allergy Testing
Skin allergy testing for dogs is another form of allergy testing used by veterinarians and veterinary dermatologists today. Skin allergy testing is more invasive than blood allergy testing, because it requires sedation due to the length of time the patient needs to be still. To act out skin allergy testing for dogs:
- The patient is placed on its side
- The patient is sedated
- A little area on the patient’s side is shaved
- Small needles inject tiny amounts of each test allergen just under the patient’s skin in a specific pattern and order so that if the dog shows a little raised reaction, the allergen causing it can be identified
After a period of time (usually a few hours), the shaved area is examined to determine which allergens elicited a reaction.
Based on what the pattern indicates, a veterinarian and/or veterinary dermatologist can prescribe the most effective treatment protocol. Skin allergy testing for dogs has been estimated to be upwards of 75% precise in determining the presence of dog allergies. However, skin allergy tests can be inaccurate if patients own received antihistamines or steroids in the months leading up to testing. Your veterinarian can assist determine if skin allergy testing is appropriate and will yield precise results for your canine friend.
Dog Allergy Testing
The first step to determining the cause of your dog’s symptoms is a thorough exam by your veterinarian.
In addition to looking for external skin parasites such as fleas and mites, your veterinarian will desire to do some diagnostics to assist him/her determine what types of infections may be present. After diagnosing and treating for external parasites and infections, your veterinarian may desire to discuss allergy testing. Once your veterinarian believes that allergies are the root cause of skin irritation/infections and discomfort, then they may recommend testing for specific allergens.
There are numerous things to test for in determining what your dog may be causing the allergies for your dog. Dog allergens drop into the following groups:
- Flea allergies — numerous dogs are highly allergic to flea bites
- Contact allergy — including numerous grasses and plants, dust mites and molds
- Food allergies — including diverse types of proteins
- Inhalant allergy (Atopy) — allergens that are inhaled
Contact allergies such as flea, food and dust/pollen allergies are by far the most common cause of allergies in dogs.
These allergens can cause an allergic reaction in the body that focuses largely on and within the epidermis, causing severe irritation. The result is a dog scratching itself to the point that skin infections and injuries can occur.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
While not generally life threatening, allergies in dogs do cause discomfort. Most symptoms are associated with dermatologic problems but some can also lead to chronic respiratory issues in some dogs if untreated for endless periods of time.
Sometimes an owner will bring their dog to a veterinary appointment, suspecting a serious medical condition and finish up finding out that their canine companion has an allergy.
Here are some allergy symptoms commonly found in dogs:
- Regularly rubbing body or body parts against the ground, walls, furniture, etc.
- Compulsive scratching
- Frequent sneezing and/or wheezing
- Excessive licking
- Periodic chewing on the same or diverse body parts or areas
- Skin irritation/fur loss
Most allergies develop in the second year of life for dogs. In the first year, the dog will be exposed to numerous types of allergens primarily through contact with the skin.
A smaller number of allergies may be caused by food (usually the protein source) and inhalant (things they breathe in that are in the air). In the second year of life, the dog’s immune system will overreact to the antigen(s) causing release of immune cells which release inflammatory substances ( such as histamine) which lead to symptoms of itching.
Rarely is a dog allergic to just one thing. Most allergic dogs are born with a less than optimal skin barrier which allows for antigens to enter the skin more easily. Dogs that suffer from allergies own abnormal skin and a less than optimal immune response which allows for secondary infections to happen. Typically, dogs do not suffer from a single allergy, but instead, dogs with sensitivities to allergens own a host of issues.
You must understand that dog allergies are due to a complicated set of issues that tends to change as the dog’s environment changes.
Because these symptoms can own several possible causes, we recommend making a veterinary appointment immediately if you notice your dog exhibiting any of the above symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment of dog allergies not only increases the likelihood of your dog’s treatment being successful, but can also be less expensive than delaying treatment. The longer you wait, the more your dog suffers and more severe the secondary infections can become.
Treating allergies in Dogs
It is helpful to understand that allergies cannot be cured but can be successfully treated.
There are numerous types of treatment and include the combination of oral medication, bathing, topical therapy and even injectable antigen therapy.
Prescribing the correct allergy medicine for dogs depends largely on the symptoms that the dog is displaying, the severity of the symptoms, and preexisting medical conditions. Allergy medicine for dogs may involve one or more of the following types of therapies:
- Antipruritic therapy (anti itch): These include antihistamines, corticosteroids and a new medication known as Apoquel which specifically targets the itch response by blocking the substances in the body which cause itch
- Immune modulators: These modify and reduce the dog’s immune response to reduce the quantity of itching which occurs from exposure to the antigens
- Shampoo therapy: Bathing can be extremely helpful to remove the antigens the dog has been exposed to and also to remove dead skin cells and assist treat secondary infections such as yeast and bacteria.
Some therapeutic shampoos contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that may further benefit your dog
- Anti-inflammatory therapy: Treats dog allergies with anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, or with antihistamines that quickly block the allergic reaction in most cases.
- Food and Dietary supplements: These include the use of protein select diets and supplementation of fatty acids.
Some dogs own allergies just to food and some may also own a food allergy and/or contact allergies. The use of Omega three fatty acids can assist improve the patient’s response to steroids and antihistamines in some cases
- Hyposensitization therapy: If the specific offending allergens are identified by allergy testing, allergy shots can be given to the patient. This form of allergy medicine for dogs consists of weekly injections of extremely little amounts of an antigen.
Repeated dosing helps reprogram or desensitize the patient’s immune system. Approximately 50% of treated dogs will see significant improvement in their clinical signs, while approximately 25% more will see a decrease in the quantity or frequency of anti-inflammatory therapy
To study which allergy medicine for dogs, and what dog allergy treatment methods will work best for your canine friend, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.
Every allergy case is diverse and must every be approached on a case by case basis.
There Are Two Main Types Of Dog Allergy Testing
Blood Testing and Intradermal Skin Testing. Each type of canine allergy testing istered differently and has its benefits and drawbacks. However, the following points hold true for both types of dog allergy testing:
- Fungal or yeast infections of the skin (common secondary invaders)
- Chronic bacterial infections (common secondary invaders)
A veterinarian might also order a 12 week hypoallergenic diet to law out a food allergy.
Food allergies are hard to detect using either dog allergy testing method, and therefore should be sure through dietary manipulation. Once every of these possibilities are ruled out, the veterinarian will order either a blood or skin test to determine the presence of dog allergies.
Blood Allergy Testing
Blood allergy testing is the most common form of allergy testing because it is convenient and simple to do.
To act out a blood allergy test, a little sample of the patient’s blood is drawn and analyzed. It is then tested for a reaction to a vast array of geographically appropriate allergens, including:
Blood allergy tests can also determine food allergies, as well as allergic reactions to materials love cotton or nylon. Blood tests are much less invasive and time consuming than skin allergy tests. Blood tests are the most commonly used dog allergy test.