What is good for dog skin allergies
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:
- A little area on the patient’s side is shaved
- The patient is sedated
- The patient is placed on its side
- 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.
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:
- Chronic bacterial infections (common secondary invaders)
- Fungal or yeast infections of the skin (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.
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:
- Frequent sneezing and/or wheezing
- Compulsive scratching
- Periodic chewing on the same or diverse body parts or areas
- Excessive licking
- Regularly rubbing body or body parts against the ground, walls, furniture, etc.
- 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.
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.
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:
- Food allergies — including diverse types of proteins
- Contact allergy — including numerous grasses and plants, dust mites and molds
- Flea allergies — numerous dogs are highly allergic to flea bites
- 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.
What Causes A Dog To Develop Allergies?
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.
One of the most common medical complaints that we see in our office is dogs with skin infections, “hot spots”, or allergic dermatitis, also known as atopic (atopy) dermatitis.
Unlike people who react to allergens most commonly with nasal symptoms and/or hives, dogs react with skin and/or gastrointestinal problems.
This is because there are a higher proportion of mast cells, which release histamines and other vasoactive substances in the face of an allergic challenge, in the skin of dogs. These problems may range from poor jacket texture or hair length, to itching and chewing, to boiling spots and self-mutilation, gastrointestinal pain and discomfort, diarrhea, and flatulence. Allergies may also frolic a part in chronic ear infections. The most common causes of canine allergic dermatitis are flea allergy, food allergy, inhalant or contact allergy, and allergy to the normal bacterial flora and yeast organisms of the skin.
To make matters more hard to diagnose and treat, thyroid disease may add to the problem as well.
Canine atopic dermatitis (allergic dermatitis, canine atopy) is an inherited predisposition to develop allergic symptoms following repeated exposure to some otherwise harmless substance, an “allergen”. Most dogs start to show their allergic signs between 1 and 3 years of age. Due to the hereditary nature of the disease, several breeds, including Golden Retrievers, most terriers, Irish Setters, Lhasa Apsos, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, and Ancient English Sheep dogs are more commonly atopic, but numerous dogs, including mixed breed dogs can own atopic dermatitis.
Atopic animals will generally rub, lick, chew, bite, or scratch at their feet, flanks, ears, armpits, or groin, causing patchy or inconsistent hair loss and reddening and thickening of the skin. The skin itself may be dry and crusty or oily depending upon the dog. Dogs may also rub their face on the carpet; ear flaps may become red and boiling. Because the wax-producing glands of the ear overproduce as a response to the allergy, they get bacterial and yeast (Malassezia ) infections of the ear.
In order to overcome these frustrating symptoms, your veterinarian’s approach needs to be thorough and systematic.
Shortcuts generally will not produce results and only add to owner frustration and canine discomfort.
Inhalant and Contact Allergies
Substances that can cause an allergic reaction in dogs are much the same as those that cause reactions in people including the pollens of grasses, trees and weeds, dust mites, and molds. A clue to diagnosing these allergies is to glance at the timing of the reaction. Does it happen year round? This may be mold or dust. If the reaction is seasonal, pollens may be the culprit.
Numerous people don’t suspect food allergies as the cause of their dog’s itching because their pet has been fed the same food every its life and has just recently started having symptoms.
However, animals can develop allergies to a substance over time, so this fact does not law out food allergies. Another common misconception is that dogs are only sensitive to poor quality food. If the dog is allergic to an ingredient, it doesn’t matter whether it is in premium food or the most inexpensive brand on the market. One advantage to premium foods is that some avoid common fillers that are often implicated in allergic reactions.
This type of reaction generally is not to the flea itself, but rather to proteins in its saliva.
Interestingly enough, the dogs most prone to this problem are not dogs who are constantly flea ridden, but those who are exposed only occasionally! A single bite can cause a reaction for five to seven days, so you don’t need a lot of fleas to own a miserable dog.
Bacterial hypersensitivity occurs when a dog’s immune system overreacts to the normal Staphylococcus (Staph) bacteria on its skin.
It appears that bacterial hypersensitivity in the dog is more likely to happen if other conditions such as hypothyroidism, inhalant allergy, and/or flea allergy are concurrently present. Bacterial hypersensitivity is diagnosed through bacterial culture and examination of a biopsy sample. Microscopically, there are certain unique changes in the blood vessels of the skin in bacterial hypersensitivity.
Most allergies are contact allergies.
There are definitely a percentage of dogs that own food allergies also.
Allergy testing is the best diagnostic tool and the best road to treatment for dogs that are suffering from moderate and severe allergies. There are several diverse testing methods available. The most common is a blood test that checks for antigen induced antibodies in the dog’s blood. Intradermal skin testing may also be performed. In this method of testing, a little quantity of antigen is injected into a shaved portion of the dog’s skin. This is done in a specific pattern and order so that if the dog shows a little raised reaction, the offending antigen can be identified.
After a period of time (hours), the shaved area is examined to detect which antigens, if any, created a reaction. Allergy testing is performed to develop a specific therapy for the allergic animal.
Numerous medicated shampoos own compounds in them that are aimed at soothing injured skin and calming inflammation. In addition, frequent bathing (weekly to every other week) of the dog can remove allergens from the hair jacket, which may contribute to skin allergy flare-ups.
The medicated baths we recommend are those that actually contain antimicrobial and antifungal agents as well as ingredients that permit the skin to be bathed on a more frequent basis without drying it out. Application of a rinse afterwards also helps to prevent drying out of the skin and hair coat.
Antihistamines can be used with excellent safety in dogs. About one third of owners report success with antihistamines. These medications tend to own a variable effect between dogs.
For some allergic dogs, antihistamines work extremely well in controlling symptoms of allergic skin disease. For other dogs, extremely little effect is seen. Therefore, a minimum of three diverse types of antihistamines should be tried before owners give up on this therapy. Examples of antihistamines commonly used for dogs include Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Atarax, Claritin, Zyrtec, and Clemastine.
However, antihistamines are considered to be worth trying in most cases since the side effects associated with antihistamines is low, and they are typically inexpensive medications.
Antibiotics and Antifungal Medications
Antibiotics are frequently needed to treat secondary skin infections. Anti-fungal medications are frequently needed to treat secondary yeast infections.
For dogs with this problem, a strict flea control regime must be maintained. The best flea control options include the use of products such as Advantage, Revolution, Frontline, Comfortis, and Sentinel.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acid supplements work by improving the overall health of the skin.
These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agents. They reportedly are helpful in 20% of allergic dogs. My own experience puts this figure a little higher. They are certainly worth a attempt because they are not harmful and own virtually no side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from plants containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). These supplements are diverse from those sold to produce a glossy jacket. Products that contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include Allergen Caps and Halo.
Allergies develop through exposure, so most hypoallergenic diets incorporate proteins and carbohydrates that your dog has never had before.
As mentioned previously, the quickest and best way to determine which foods your dog may or may not be allergic to is through diagnostic allergy testing. As dairy, beef, and wheat are responsible for 80% of food allergies in dogs, these items should be avoided. Novel protein sources used in hypoallergenic diets include venison, egg, duck, kangaroo, and types of fish not generally found in pet food. Carbohydrate sources include potatoes, peas, yams, sweet potatoes, and canned pumpkin.
Hydrolyzed protein diets are diets in which the protein source has been synthetically reduced to little fragments.
The theory behind feeding a hydrolyzed protein source is that the proteins in the food should be little enough that the allergic dog’s immune system will not recognize the protein fragments and will not mount an immune response resulting in an allergy.
Most pets with food allergies reply well when switched to a store-bought hypoallergenic diet, but occasionally an animal suffers from such extreme allergies that a homemade diet is the only option. In this case, the diet should be customized with the aid of a veterinarian.
Corticosteroids and Immunosuppressive Agents
Cortisone products such as prednisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone reduce itching by reducing inflammation.
These medications are not without side effects, so they need to be used judiciously in treating skin allergies. Steroids should be considered only when the allergy season is short, the quantity of drug required is little, or to relieve a dog in extreme discomfort. Side effects can include increased thirst and appetite, increased need to urinate, and behavioral changes. Long-term use can result in diabetes and decreased resistance to infection. In some dogs, endless term, low-dose alternate day therapy is the only management protocol that successfully controls the atopic pet.
This protocol should be used only as a final resort after every other methods own been exhausted to avoid the potential long-term complications of the medication.
Cyclosporine (Atopica) is a medication, which seems to be fairly effective at reducing the inflammation associated with skin allergies and calming the immune system of the affected dog. However, the pricing of cyclosporine may be prohibitive for larger breed dogs.
Allergy shots are extremely safe, and numerous people own grand success with them; however, they are extremely slow to work.
It may be six to twelve months before improvement is seen. Once the allergens for the dog are identified, an appropriate immunotherapy is manufactured for that specific dog, and treatment can start. After the offending antigens are identified, then a mixture of these antigens can be formulated into a hyposensitizing injection. Depending on the type of agents used, these injections will be given over a period of weeks to months until the dog or cat develops immunity to the agents. After initial protection, an occasional booster may own to be given.
If you know which substances your dog is allergic to, avoidance is the best method of control.
Even if you are desensitizing the dog with allergy shots, it is best to avoid the allergen altogether. Molds can be reduced by using a dehumidifier or placing activated charcoal on top of the exposed dirt in your home plants. Dusts and pollens are best controlled by using an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Air conditioning can also reduce circulating amounts of airborne allergens because windows are then kept closed.
Healthy skin and a normal hair jacket are the results of numerous factors, both external and internal. There are several glands in the body responsible for the production of hormones that are vital for the regulation of other body functions as well as a normal skin surface and hair jacket.
Hypothyroidism may result in poor skin and hair jacket, including hair loss or abnormal hair turnover, dull or brittle hair, altered pigmentation, and oily or dry skin. A blood test is a simplest and most direct way to tell if your dog is hypothyroid. Thyroid testing may include every or part of the following:
Baseline T4 Test or Entire T4 (TT4): This is the most common test. Dogs with a failure of the thyroid gland will own a lowered level of the T4 hormone. However, there are other conditions that can cause the T4 to decrease, so if this test comes back positive for hypothyroidism your vet should recommend an additional blood test, either the T3 Test or the Baseline TSH test.
Baseline TSH Test: Measures the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.
In combination with the T4 or T3 test, it provides a more finish picture of the hormonal activity of your dog’s thyroid gland.
Free T4 by RIA (radio immunoassay): The Free T4 test using RIA techniques does not appear to be more or less precise than the above TT4 test.
Free T4 by ED (equilibrium dialysis): This test may provide more precise data on the level of T4 hormone in your dog’s bloodstream.
Baseline T3 Test: In combination with the T4 or TSH test, these two blood tests can give a clearer picture of the hormone levels found in the bloodstream. This test is not dependable when used alone.
The T3 Test should always be given in combination with one of the other blood tests.
TSH Response Test: In this test, the veterinarian takes an initial measurement of the thyroid hormones in your dog’s bloodstream and then injects Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) into the vein. After 6 hours, a blood sample is drawn and the level of T4 is checked. If your dog has hypothyroidism, the level of T4 will not increase even after the TSH is injected.
This is an expensive test and is being used less often due to decreased production by the manufacturers.
Hypothyroidism is treated with a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine). Blood samples will need to be drawn periodically to assess the effectiveness of the dosage and make any adjustments necessary.
Successful management of the atopic, allergic dog is sometimes complicated and frustrating because multi-modal management is necessary in the majority of cases to control the allergic flare-ups. Proper diagnosis by a veterinarian and owner compliance and follow up care is essential to maximize the chances of curing or at least controlling the severely affected allergy patient.
So today, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about allergies, and there’s so numerous misconceptions and misinformation out there, and people who desire to sell you every kinds of things that are going to cure the allergies, but I’m going to helpful of give you just a basic picture of what’s significant to know.
And most importantly, remember, every dog is diverse. Every situation is diverse, and you really need the assist and guidance of a veterinary to select the best products.
Most people come to us because their dog is, tell, itching for whatever reason. Obviously, the first thing we’re going to law out would be parasites. There are some kinds of mites that can cause itching, certainly fleas and even ticks can cause itching, so we’re going to make certain that those things are well covered first. Then the next thing we’ll start to talk about would be things love environmental concerns.
But really, with allergies, the way that they work with most dogs is that the vast majority are contact allergies.
Yes, love some love that, and a dog is going to be exposed by stepping or rolling or laying in the grass, or whatever, and they’re going to be exposed to allergens.
When we test for allergies, we’re testing for about 75 diverse things, so no one can glance at your dog and tell, «Oh, it’s grass.» There’s really just no way of knowing that, but it’s certainly a extremely excellent possibility that it could be grass or molds that are in the grass when the grasses are wet.
But what happens is these allergens are exposed to the dog’s skin, and then they’re absorbed through the skin. Dogs that own allergies, a lot of them own a barrier problem; meaning if you ponder about the skin as being love saran wrap, and dogs that own allergies own more holes in their saran wrap than other dogs.
So then these allergens are capable to penetrate through the skin, and in addition, they own some overreaction to whatever it is they’re being exposed to. If it’s grass, the grass allergens are getting into the skin and into the second layer of the skin a little bit easier, and then the body may be overreacting, causing histamine release, and other things that are really itchy for the dog, and then that’s going to cause the dog to itch.
Once the dog starts licking and chewing and scratching and biting, we get secondary problems love yeast and bacteria infections, which may require us to do some cytologies. Basically, we’re looking at the cells of the skin to see if there’s yeast or bacteria, because they’re treated extremely differently.
We own so numerous amazing drugs now to assist fight with allergies. We own two new medications; one is a pill that is a non-steroidal pill that really helps to block the reaction of itch, and another one is an injectable drug that also helps with the overresponse that an allergic dog displays.
These drugs are amazing and such a lifesaver for a dog’s quality of life, but they do require that we make certain that infections are cleared up, and that we’ve done a beautiful thorough workup before doing any of these medications. So bottom line is this: Most allergies are contact allergies. There are definitely a percentage of dogs that own food allergies also.
Some of them can own a combination of every of the above, but I ponder if you went into a pet store, you’d discover that fairly often telling you, you own to purchase this certain helpful of food, and really rarely is that what should happen.
You don’t really desire to get your health information from a 16 year ancient pet store employee; not that there’s anything incorrect with them, but they don’t generally own the eight years of school that assist us to make a better plan for your puppy or your dog in choosing the best medications. So, if your dog is having itching, scratching problem, most importantly, just get to the vet. Own them start working your dog up and discover the best way to get your dog’s skin under control.