Allergy in dogs
Unfavorable ecology, stress and an abundance of artificial additives in food disrupt the immune system of not only people, but also animals. Allergy in dogs is a phenomenon with which owners are increasingly turning to a veterinarian. It is impossible to ignore the symptoms of pathology, as this can lead to serious complications, up to the death of a pet. Every owner should know what kind of allergy a four-legged friend has, what to pay attention to, and what to do.
- Why and how allergies develop in dogs
- Common signs of an allergic reaction in dogs
- Types of allergies in dogs
- The danger of allergies in dogs
- How to treat allergies in dogs
- What allergy medications can be given to a dog
- What to feed your dog during allergy treatment
- Help with anaphylactic shock in a dog
Why and how allergies develop in dogs
After the allergen enters the animal's body, in response, the immune system produces proteins – antibodies that are able to form specific immune complexes. Prolonged or repeated penetration of the allergen leads to the activation of complexes, which causes the release of inflammatory mediators into the blood – an inflammatory response develops. In addition to external manifestations, negative changes also occur inside the body: vascular permeability increases, their walls are damaged, the structure of the animal's own tissues changes (which subsequently causes autoimmune diseases) and so on.
Why an increased susceptibility of the dog's body to an allergen is formed is unknown. However, it is assumed that the basis is a violation of the immune system. This may be caused by the following factors:
- prolonged stressful situations;
- presence of chronic pathologies;
- individual characteristics of the nervous system, hormonal background;
- worm infestations.
Common signs of an allergic reaction in dogs
How does allergy manifest in dogs? It depends on the type of allergen. The body can give a response by inflammatory processes in the mucous membranes, respiratory tract, muscle tissue, skin, digestive organs, and so on. Nevertheless, there are some common signs that you should definitely pay attention to:
- dry, flaky skin;
- appearance of bald spots, receding hairline;
- discharge from the nostrils;
- conjunctival swelling;
- frequent itching;
- increased lacrimation;
- redness of the inner surface of the ears;
- increased humidity in the armpits;
- digestive problems, gastrointestinal disorders;
- wheezing, shortness of breath;
- changes in the psyche (irritability, aggressiveness).
Attention: if the reaction to the allergen is very violent, the dog may develop Quincke's edema. If the animal's muzzle is "swollen", breathing is disturbed, eyes are swollen, you should immediately seek help from a veterinary specialist.
Since allergy symptoms are similar to many diseases, an accurate diagnosis can only be made after a thorough examination of the dog.
When diagnosing allergies in dogs, a specialist will prescribe a comprehensive examination. It is possible to exclude other diseases with the help of blood tests, urine, feces for worms, skin scrapings and many other methods. The difficulty of detecting an allergen lies in the fact that the signs of the conditions have great similarity. In this regard, the exclusion method is used, that is, possible allergens are examined one after another. The first thing they pay attention to is food and parasitic insects.
To detect allergies to animal feed, a special diagnostic diet is administered to the animal. The pet will have to eat a certain type of food for about two months, including / excluding various protein products. The owner is obliged to record the presence or absence of changes in the protein map. If a food allergen is detected, it is permanently excluded from the diet. This method is the only one that makes it possible to identify an allergenic product for a dog.
To establish an allergy to fleas, testing is used with a white paper sheet soaked in water. Insects leave "waste" of their digestion on the animal's body in the form of black inclusions. On a wet leaf, these inclusions are blurred with red spots.
If necessary, it is possible to conduct diagnostic tests.
- Intradermal test. A small amount of allergen is injected subcutaneously into the dog, and then the immune response is analyzed.
- Blood testing for the presence of antibodies. It is performed by adding a small volume of blood to the suspected allergen.
Laboratory diagnostics are used infrequently. This is due to the high cost of such analyses, the long wait for the results, as well as their lack of reliability.
Types of allergies in dogs
Just like humans, dogs suffer from various types of allergic reactions.
- Atopic. It is caused by genetic features. It can develop on any irritant (dust, poplar fluff, mold), so it is almost impossible to detect an allergen.
- Respiratory. Occurs when the dog inhales the causative agent of the immune response. Characteristic symptoms are respiratory disorders.
- Autoimmune. It's an allergy to your own cells.
- Contact. Caused by direct contact of the dog's body with allergenic objects.
In each case, the key to successful therapy will be the complete exclusion of the allergen.
Food allergies develop in dogs, mainly as a response to protein, so any product containing this component can cause it. The most common allergens are meat products, chicken egg protein, cereals and legumes (wheat, soy). Artificial additives contained both in animal feed and in conventional products can lead to allergies: flavors, dyes, preservatives.
There is an opinion that four-legged friends have the most common allergy to chicken. In fact, this type of allergic reaction is not much more common than the others. Even pig meat or soy products cause a much more violent response from the immune system.
Symptoms of food allergy can be the following:
- skin itching, rashes;
- local hair loss;
- mucus discharge from the eyes;
- digestive disorders;
- itching and /or discharge in the ears, swelling of the auricles and others.
The treatment of food allergies consists in identifying the allergen, eliminating it, and medicamentally getting rid of the symptoms.
Allergy to flea bites is also based on the body's reaction to foreign proteins. An insect during a skin injury injects a special secret containing enzymes and various active substances into the animal's tissues. Some of the dogs are resistant to even numerous bites, and especially sensitive ones can react to fleas even if the insect appeared in the singular.
Symptoms of flea allergy may include such manifestations as:
- hyperemia of the epidermis;
- combs due to constant itching;
- rashes in the groin area;
When the dog is examined externally, the owner may not see fleas. For the development of an allergic reaction, it is enough for the insect to bite, after which the flea can leave the animal's body.
Therapy in this case consists in the destruction of blood-sucking insects (if there are none, then preventive treatment is carried out) and the elimination of symptoms with medications.
Allergy to medications
Cases of allergic response of the dog's body to medications are not uncommon. The most common allergens are:
- antibacterial agents;
- vitamin preparations.
Drug allergy may not appear immediately. This type of immune response, in most cases, manifests itself as the substance accumulates in the dog's body.
Attention: despite the gradual development of an allergic reaction (which occurs most often), some pets may experience a sharp response in the form of edema of the respiratory tract, suffocation, anaphylactic shock. Therefore, when taking medication for the first time, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the animal.
Among the symptoms of drug allergy can be noted: rash, intestinal disorders, heart disorders. Treatment consists in immediate discontinuation of medications and symptomatic therapy. In severe cases, you need to urgently contact a veterinary clinic.
Allergy to hygiene products and household chemicals
Dogs react sensitively to the components of household chemicals and hygiene products. This form of allergy can manifest itself after the direct treatment of the animal (for example, washing with an unsuitable shampoo), as well as as a result of washing the litter, using detergent additives while washing the floor, and so on.
Manifestations of this type of immune response can be:
- problems with wool;
- dermatitis and dermatoses;
- discharge from the nostrils;
- swelling of the conjunctiva, redness of the organs of vision;
- sneezing and others.
It is difficult to detect an allergen in this case. Since allergies to food and fleas are primarily assumed, it will take about two months to exclude these allergens. During this period, the symptoms of an allergic reaction to hygiene and detergents may worsen. If a foreign agent is detected, it is completely excluded from the dog's life and appropriate symptomatic therapy is carried out.
Other types of allergens
Dogs can have a wide variety of allergies. So, the pet's body may not respond adequately to:
- fungal infection, bacteria;
- plant pollen or houseplants;
- other pets (birds, cats);
- natural or, on the contrary, synthetic fabrics.
It will take more than one month to identify such an allergen. In many cases, the animal suffers all its life, since it is not possible to determine the pathogen of the pathology.
The danger of allergies in dogs
If the allergen is not identified and eliminated, the dog will suffer from symptoms constantly, which as a result will lead to serious violations in the work of all organ systems. The lack of treatment threatens diseases such as:
- chronic dermatosis;
- hormonal failure;
- mental disorders;
- pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest;
- chronic conjunctivitis;
- cardiac pathologies;
- anaphylactic shock.
Since the body is weakened, a secondary infection in the form of bacteria, fungi, viruses joins. In severe cases, pathology leads to the death of a pet.
How to treat allergies in dogs
How to remove allergies in dogs, how and how to treat its symptoms? It depends on various factors: the severity of the course of the disease, the presence or absence of secondary infection, the condition of the pet (newborn puppy, pregnancy, senile age) and others. Therapy should be comprehensive and include such measures as:
- identification and elimination of allergen;
- hypoallergenic diet;
- medical relief from symptoms.
It is necessary to introduce dietary restrictions not only to detect food allergies, but also for other types of immune response.
If a pet has a malfunction of the lacrimal glands, conjunctival edema, purulent discharge from the eyes, appropriate drops, ointments and rinses are prescribed. In case of skin damage, hair loss, external antiseptic, antipruritic, healing agents are indicated, and in case of secondary infection, antibacterial ointments and preparations for internal use are indicated. Other symptoms are treated in a similar way. If the pet sharply develops swelling of the mucous membrane of the mouth and eyes, the dog begins to suffocate, then you need to urgently call a veterinarian or take the animal to the nearest clinic.
What allergy medications can be given to a dog
What to give the dog from allergies is decided by the veterinarian, he also selects the dose of medication and the duration of treatment. The choice of antihistamines is quite wide, while in most cases preference is given to drugs whose active substances reduce the sensitivity of tissues to inflammatory mediators. Such drugs relieve the itching condition, eliminate puffiness, reduce the permeability of the vascular wall and spasms.
List of allergy medications.
In addition to antihistamines, the complex treatment of allergies includes drugs that correct the activity of the immune system (Imunofan, Gamavit), and corticosteroids for external and internal use (Prednisone, Dexamethasone).
Important: even if a dog is being treated at home, a veterinarian should prescribe medications after diagnosis and exclusion of other diseases. Otherwise, it is possible to suppress immunity and develop life-threatening conditions.
What to feed your dog during allergy treatment
In case of an allergic reaction of any kind, an animal needs to make a special diet. It is necessary to exclude from it all the products that the body tolerates the most heavily:
- chicken, pork and beef meat;
- wheat products;
- yeast-based products;
- egg white;
- products with soy additives.
It is necessary to feed the pet mainly with natural food that does not contain coloring and preservative substances, flavorings. Such supplements further disrupt the immune system and metabolic processes. Products that do not cause allergies: turkey, rabbit and lamb meat, buckwheat, brown rice.
Dog owners who are used to purchased food need to carefully review the composition of the diet. Today, there are special hypoallergenic types of feeds on sale that do not contain artificial ingredients, enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidant compounds and other useful components. Among them are:
- Hills Prescription Diet Canine Allergen-Free;
- Acana Lamb&Okanagan Apple;
- Bosch Sensitive Lamb & Rice.
Help with anaphylactic shock in a dog
The state of anaphylactic shock can occur suddenly as a result of a sharp response of the animal's body to an insect bite, taking or injecting medications, vaccination. It is characterized by the following symptoms:
- swelling of the muzzle, eyes, mouth, nose, ears;
- rash and redness, swelling at the injection site;
- gag reflex;
- excited state, turning into depressed;
- heart rhythm disorder;
- fainting condition.
If such signs occur, the animal must be urgently taken to a veterinarian. The pet may die within the next hour!
First of all, the specialist will deliver an intramuscular injection of an antihistamine, for example, diphenhydramine. To maintain the activity of the heart, an intravenous infusion of cordiamine or an injection of sulfocamphocaine under the skin will be required. In addition, an intravenous veterinarian will inject a mixture of vitamin C and glucose, an intramuscular immunomodulatory agent (for example, immunophane), and a subcutaneous steroid drug. Further actions will depend on the condition of the dog.
Dogs are very hard to tolerate allergies. The inability to reliably determine the antigen by laboratory methods further complicates the situation. The owner will need to have a lot of patience, show maximum care and attention to detect the allergen and save the pet from suffering.