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How to Check and Diagnose Allergies in Your Dog

The one thing that completely breaks your heart is when your furry woof-master is sick.

And one of the most irritable ailments of all is unquestionably allergies. Be it man or dog, allergies could really be a bullet out of nowhere that hits you in the most unexpected of situations.

This is because the deal with allergies is there could seldom be any symptom before any kind of allergies actually set in. There is simply no way to determine if something could cause an allergy until you have already consumed it or come in contact with it.

And unfortunately, the same things happen when dogs come in contact with allergens. Although, not life-threatening right away, allergies could sensitize and weaken the immune system making them all the more susceptible to diseases.

It can be challenging to clinically diagnose the symptoms or the initial stages of allergic manifestations, but the symptoms after catching it could be easily observed and systematically treated thereafter.

All about the symptoms of dog allergies

Allergies are not something that could lead to severe health hazards right away. However, they can be really annoying, causing a lot of discomfort. Most instances of allergic symptoms could appear as a result of dermatological issues.

But, some problems could lead to acute respiratory mal-conditions that could spiral out of control if not treated immediately. If you’re looking to get in touch with an emergency veterinarian right away then do visit emergencyvetsusa.com.

Sometimes the symptoms could manifest in violent bouts in dogs that could send off the owner in a tizzy, fearing the worst, only to find out that it had been an allergic reaction.

Some of the most common allergic reactions your dog could have are:

  • Incessant scratching
  • Excessive and continuous licking
  • Periodic or excessive chewing on a certain body part or different areas
  • Loss of fur, skin irritations or rashes
  • Frequent/violent sneezing or wheezing
  • Rubbing the body or body parts against the walls, ground, furniture, etc., frequently

Most types of allergies will develop in the second year of a dog’s life. In the first year, a dog may be exposed to a number of allergens mainly through skin-contact. A smaller number of allergens could enter the dog’s body through food, especially protein sources or through the air, that is “inhalant”: the things in the air that they could breathe in easily.

And to know more about dog breeds for people with allergies click the link.

It is in the second year of a dog’s life that their immune system could begin reacting to the antigen(s) causing the release of immune cells that in turn give off inflammatory substances such as histamine. This is what leads to the symptoms of itching.

Rarely could a dog be allergic to just one thing. Since most allergic dogs are born with insufficient skin barrier, the allergens could easily enter through their skin. Dogs that suffer from severe allergies generally have abnormal skin conditions and weak immune response, making it even more susceptible to secondary infections.

Kinds of allergy testing for dogs

The allergens that target dogs fall into these following four groups:

  1. Flea allergies: some dogs may be highly allergic to flea bites
  2. Contact allergies: this includes allergies contracted from certain types of plants, grasses, molds, or dust mites.
  3. Inhalant allergy (Atopy): The allergens that they inhale
  4. Food allergies: this is mainly caused by different kinds of protein sources.

The two most common ways of testing for allergies in dogs are:

  • Blood Testing
  • Intradermal Skin Testing

Every type of tests for determining canine allergies are administered differently. Each of these has its own benefits as well as minor drawbacks. Do consider the following if you’re taking your dog to get tested for allergies:

It is best to get these tests done during those seasons when allergies could get to their worst as it would likely yield a more accurate result.

A test should be performed after your dog has been examined for other potential causes and irritants. These generally include mites, fleas, yeast or fungal infections of the skin (common secondary invaders), hypothyroidism or chronic bacterial infections (common secondary infections).

A vet may also prescribe a 12-weeks hypoallergenic diet in the case of a possible food allergy. This is because food allergies can be a bit difficult to detect using either of these testing methods and generally call for a dietary manipulation to yield results.

Click here to know more about food for dogs with allergies

Blood allergy testing

Blood allergy testing is the most commonly performed dog allergy test. It is pretty convenient and easy to carry out, requiring just a tiny sample of blood for determining several types of potential allergic reactions.

This could reveal an array of “geographically appropriate” allergens such as pollen, and molds.

Blood allergy tests can also reveal food allergies (if present), along with allergic reactions to materials like nylon or cotton. It takes much less time to perform and is the least bit invasive than other kinds of tests.

Skin Allergy Testing

This is another method of testing allergies in dogs that are used by veterinarians and veterinary dermatologists. Skin allergy tests are more invasive than bloodwork and involves sedating the patient for the entire length of time of the test.

Skin allergy tests can be up to 75% accurate in determining the kinds of allergens present that cause a reaction in a dog. However, it can be inaccurate if the patient has received steroids or antihistamines in the months leading up to testing.

Treatments for dog allergies

Even though allergies can’t be cured, they can be successfully and easily treated in almost all instances. There are many kinds of treatments available for allergies, including combinations of oral medications, bathing, topical therapy, and injectable antigen therapy.

Determining just the correct and required method of the medication will mainly depend on the symptoms that the dog is showing, any pre-existing medical conditions or its medical history with allergies.

Allergy medications might involve one or more of the following types:

  • Anti-inflammatory therapy
  • Immune modulators
  • Food and dietary supplements
  • Antipruritic (anti-itch) therapy
  • Shampoo therapy
  • Hyposensitization therapy

Conclusion

Allergies in dogs are triggered by a complex set of issues that tends to change as soon as the dog’s environment changes. No two cases are the same, and the intensity of reactions can vary by large margins in two separate cases.

It is advisable for you to get your pet tested as soon as it shows any of these symptoms to avoid the infections from growing. The more you wait, the more severe can the secondary infections become.

To know which allergy medication will be required by your dog and which methods will work best, do take it to the vet as soon as possible. Every case of allergy is different and should be approached on a case by case basis.

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