Allergies       

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                          

Allergies in pets are caused by many of the same allergens that cause problems in humans. The main difference is that most pets allergies are exhibited on the skin. Regardless of the source, the end result is itching and the subsequent irritation caused by an overactive immune response. This condition is called allergic dermatitid. Allergic Dermatitis is an inherited predispostition to develop allergic symptoms after repeated exposure to some otherwise harmless substance, an allergen such as dust, dust mites, grasses, or pollen. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss this most common respose.

 

   Signs  

Most dogs begin to show their allergic signs between 1 and 3 years of age. Because of the hereditary nature of the disease, several breeds, including golden retrievers, most terriers, Staffords have a special skin, Irish, and english Setters, Lhase apsos, dalmatians,bulldogs, beagels, schauzers miniature dogs, olso shar peis, are more commonly atopic  itchy.

 

Affected animals will typically rub, lik, chew, or scratch at their feet, muzzle, ears, armpits, or groin. In some instances, several offending substances can add together to cause an animal to itch where each individual substance alone would not be enough to cause an itching sensation.

  

    Common Allergens     

 

Flea* Tick secretions* House dust* Ragweed*Dairy products* Beef,fish,wheat,* Dandelion* Trees:e.g.Elm* Grasses* Molds* Insects*

    Diagnosis    

 

Because there are many causes, and signs may be so similar, a systematic approach to the diagnosis is critical. This may include some, or all of the following evaluations: Family history* Physical exam* Fungal Culture* Bacterial culture* Heartworm test* Dietary eliminations* Complete Blood Count* Allergy testing skin or blood* Dietary history* Skin scraping* Fecal exam* Skin Biopsy*

 

    Treatments     

 

Treatment typically includes avoidance of the substance, therapy to control the itching symptomatic therapy, or specific therapy desensitization vaccine in an attempt to desensitize your pet to the specific substances to which he or she is found to be allergic.

 

 

     Avoidance     

 

Complete avoidance may not be practical, but decreased exposture may be feasible. Example: if your pet is allergic to pollen, decreasing the outdoor exposure especially at dusk and dawn is helpful. Symptomatic: Antihistamines and fatty acids, when given in combination, can decrease the itching sensation in about 10 to 20 percent of atopic pets. Several different types of antihistamines may need to be tried to find the one that works the best. These two combined therapies should be given for a few months before a decision is made concerning thier effectiveness. Products applied to skin shampoos, cream rinses, leave-on conditioners, gels, lotions, sprays may be of benefit. Steroids e.g, prednisone, cortisone can also be used to alleviate the itch. However, these drugs have potential side effects and are reserved for pets for which other therapy is not possible or is eneffective or to control a severe itch for a short period of time.

 

Desensitization vaccines can be formulated for your pet on the basis of results of a skin test or blood test. The vaccines are usually given for the lifetime of your pet. After an initial series of injections, periodic boosters are needed every few weeks. Sixty to eighty percent of animals improve with these vaccines. However, desensitization take time. Improvement may not be seen for 3 to 6 months or longer. If results are not seen in 9  to 12 months, a reevaluation of th vaccine usage is necessary. 

 

 

Dietary change can be helpful in pets with an allergie componentthat appears to be food related. There are many hypoallergenic foods on the market today. This can often be challenging since many of the foods contain similar ingredients. Hypoallergenic diets minimize ingredients and utilize different proteins and carbohydrates that animals are not typically exposed.

 

Allergies are a lifelong problem and tend not to just go away. The best chance for success is realized when  you can spend the time and effort in utilizing symptomatic therapy only on your pet or while your pet is undergoing the process of desensitization. Only by trial and error can the optimal therapy be formulated. 

 

 

   

 

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