Sun, Dec 17, 2017
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What Allergies Mean For Your Dog

  On the most basic level, an allergic reaction is related to the body’s attempt to defend itself against some kind of foreign or unfamiliar material it considers a possible threat. These invading substances are more formally known as “antigens”. When antigens are introduced, the immune system is triggered and the body begins to produce defensive cells known as “antibodies”. On certain occasions, your pet may be exposed to antigens that are fairly benign in nature – things like dust, pollen, etc. – but his or her initiated immune response will be far too strong in comparison to what is likely a very mild threat. This mismatch can result in a variety of symptoms indicative of an allergic reaction and can range from mild to severe.

  Allergies in dogs can be caused by very similar irritants to those inducing reactions in people. It can take quite the sleuth however, to determine what the specific trigger is. Certain ingredients in the canine diet can be culprits – components like wheat, corn, dairy, and certain meats. Medications may also cause issues. Other times, the causes may be more environmental in nature and less easily controlled. Pollens and dust can cause hayfever-like symptoms in your dog including itchy watery eyes and sneezing. Stinging and biting insects can cause serious symptoms. It’s common for dogs to exhibit allergic reactions to flea bites.

There’s a whole slew of symptoms your dog may experience in response to allergens, with the type and severity being incidental to the type of irritant and the method of exposure. While humans often manifest their allergies in the form of sinus issues, dogs are more likely to suffer from skin reactions – primarily hives and itchiness. You’ll notice your canine expressing his discomfort by scratching, biting, rubbing his face, and excessive licking. Allergies can result in stomach problems, general malaise, and other less obvious symptoms. Disconcertingly, dogs can also experience life-threatening reactions such as anaphylactic shock resulting in respiratory and cardiac failure and ultimately if left untreated, death.

  Diagnosis presents a full range of challenges especially because similar symptoms can be initiated by varying classes of allergens and because much like humans, dogs can develop allergies at various stages in their lives. A good vet can be an invaluable resource. You can have your pet undergo allergy testing as a way to pinpoint the specific cause. If a symptom is suspected to be dietary in nature, an owner can systematically try to eliminate specific ingredients from what they feed their pet in an attempt to determine the offending substance.

  Thankfully, there are many avenues of treatment for allergies and if a dog responds well to medical care, then determining the nature of an allergen may not be so pressing. For skin irritation, there are many options including the use of soothing medicated baths, drug combinations of steroids and antihistamines, allergy shots, and managing your pet’s environment. Diets can be monitored, regulated, or changed. For reactions of a severe and dangerous nature, an epi-pen may be administered much like it is for humans. Allergies no longer need to be something that slows your dog down.

 

The internet is rich with resources on the topic of canine allergies. Visit some of the sites below:

 

Dogs’ genome similar to humans’

Five Types of Allergies in Dogs

Allergic Reaction to Insect Stings in Dogs

DogChannel.com - Dog Allergies Can Cause Paw Chewing

Allergies Related to Inherited Immune Conditions (Atophy)

Doctors Foster & Smith – Anaphylaxis in dogs

Skin and Allergy Problems in Dogs

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Puppies For Sale

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breeder Quick Search

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