Allergies in Dogs - Dog Training Devices

As a vet, some of the most common conditions I have to treat in dogs are allergies. My patients come to me with red itchy skin, feet that are sore from being licked all the time, and inflamed painful ears.

An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system. When a virus or bacteria attack a dog's body, the immune system launches itself into action, increasing blood supply and bringing in white blood cells to fight the invader. In an allergic reaction, the immune system is reacting to a dust or pollen in the environment or something in the dog's diet or even the bite from a flea.

When the skin is irritated from the allergic reaction, the normal bacteria and fungi that live there often multiply and cause a secondary infection. This just makes your poor dog more miserable.

Diagnosing an Allergy

It's often fairly straightforward to diagnose an allergy in dogs. Flea allergy dermatitis results in red skin and hair loss predominantly over the rump and down the tail. It's not always easy to see a flea but if your dog's skin is irritated in this area and you're not using a reliable flea control, it's possible that fleas are giving him grief.

Food allergies don't always present with gastrointestinal signs. There usually isn't any vomiting or diarrhea, but instead there is itchy feet, itchy skin and itchy ears. The only way to check for a food allergy in your dog is to feed him a protein source he has never had before. You can choose a commercial low allergy food or ask your vet for advice in making a homemade meal for him. It's not easy because this special diet has to be followed for 12 weeks.

An allergy to dusts and pollens, has many symptoms including skin, ear and feet itching, but also sneezing, runny eyes and an itchy muzzle. This type of allergy tends to be seasonal at first but eventually will occur all year round. It's possible to have skin tests done to see exactly what your dog is reacting to; you'll need to visit a veterinary dermatologist to have this done.

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Treating Allergies in Dogs

The two main ways of treating allergies is to stop your dog being expose to whatever he is allergic to, or treating him so his body no longer reacts.

In the first case, you'd be looking at using excellent flea control or identifying what food he is reacting to and keeping it off his menu. It's less straight forward if he's allergic to the pollen from a neighborhood tree.

Under these circumstances, you can use antihistamines, fatty acid supplements or even corticosteroids to control his symptoms. With some allergies, you can have a desensitizing injection made up. By giving him regular small doses of this injection, his body should start to get used to the allergen and he will be less itchy.

Allergies aren't usually curable, but they can be managed. It's worth the effort to keep your much loved dog comfortable.

Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert, a vet and a freelance writer. Take a look at more of her health related work.

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Posted in Fitness Post Date 01/17/2019


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