Allergies in Dogs | Petlebi

Dog Health

An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to certain chemicals called allergens. The majority of these allergens are proteins in plants, insects, animals or foods. Allergies in dogs are also quite similar to those in humans. Exposure to an allergen for months or even years can sensitize the immune system and cause an overreaction over time. Normally, the dog’s immune system protects the dog against infections and diseases. However, in case of allergies, the immune system’s response harms the body. It is an unnecessary overreaction to a foreign chemical based on allergies.

The immune system’s responses to allergies are quite complex. In many cases, allergen protein molecules that combine with antibodies in the blood travel through the blood and attach to a type of cell called a mast cell. These cells are found in many tissues in the body. When the antigen and antibody react with mast cells, mast cells release potent chemicals such as histamine that cause local inflammation such as redness, swelling or itching. This condition causes a variety of symptoms associated with an allergic reaction.

dog scratching his ear

What Are Allergy Symptoms in Dogs?

The most common allergy symptom in dogs is skin itching. Itching can occur not only in a specific part of the body, but also in the whole body. In some cases, symptoms also occur in the respiratory tract, with additional symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or wheezing. Depending on the type of allergy, discharge from the nose or eyes or conditions that affect the digestive system may cause symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

Allergies are very common in dogs and affect all breeds. The majority of allergies begin to appear after the first 6 months. Generally, dogs aged 1 to 2 years are most affected by allergies. Some allergies, such as atopy or allergies to pollen and plants, are inherited.

Types of Allergies in Dogs

“What are dogs allergic to?” There are many different answers to the question. Because many chemicals can have an allergen effect. Generally, insect, plant, animal-based proteins, as well as some chemical molecules can cause allergies. The most common allergies are allergies such as pollen, mold spores, dust mites, dead skin, flea secretions. Dogs can also have an allergic reaction to some medications.

There are several different ways to classify allergies in dogs.

  • Classification by allergen – flea allergy, food allergy, etc.
  • Classification by entry of the allergen into the body – volatile, contact or alimentary, etc.
  • Classification by way of occurrence – sudden type of hypersensitivity called anaphylaxis or shock, etc.
  • Classification by clinical manifestations – allergic dermatitis or allergic bronchitis, etc.
  • Classification by hereditary form – atopy or seasonal allergies, etc.

plucked dog
What Is Insect Allergy In Dogs And How Is It Treated?

“My dog ​​has allergies, what should I do?” The answer to the question varies depending on the allergy. Insect bite allergy is an excessive inflammatory response of the body to an insect bite or sting. The bites or stings of arachnids such as spiders or ticks and insects such as fleas, houseflies, horseflies, mosquitoes, ants, bees, hornets and wasps can cause an allergic reaction in dogs.

Flea saliva is the most common allergen that causes insect allergy in dogs. This is called flea allergic dermatitis. There is a slight irritation in the area of ​​the flea bites. However, even a single bite can be reacted with excessive itching. Dogs with flea allergic dermatitis can often pull out a large amount of hair by biting or scratching the area. This is especially true in and around the tail. Secondary infections can be seen with the irritation of the skin tissue here.

Since even a single flea can cause such an extreme reaction, serious precautions should be taken against fleas. This can be quite challenging given the life cycles of fleas. However, thanks to modern flea preventers, it is possible to create a flea-free environment for dogs. In case of allergies, veterinarians may prescribe antihistamine or corticosteroid drugs to prevent excessive scratching. Antibiotic treatment is usually required when secondary bacterial infections are present.

flower sniffing dog

What Is Atopy Allergies In Dogs And How Are They Treated?

Airborne, respiratory-borne allergies are often called atopy allergies. Pollen from trees such as cedar, ash or oak can cause allergies in dogs. However, grass pollen, weed pollen, molds, rust or dust mites in the house can also cause airborne allergies. Allergies caused by ragweed, cedar, and grass pollen are often seasonal. On the other hand, mold, rust or dust mites cause allergies when exposed for about 1 year.

When people inhale these allergens, problems usually occur in the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms such as runny eyes and nose, sneezing occur. This condition is also known as hay fever. In some cases, these allergies cause allergic rhinitis or bronchitis. In most dogs, airborne allergies cause itchy skin. For this reason, airborne allergies are also called inhalant allergic dermatitis. These allergies cause dogs to rub their face, lick their feet, or scratch their underarms.

Atopy allergies usually begin to manifest themselves between the ages of 1 – 3 years. These dogs are also often more prone to other allergies such as fleas or food allergies. When these allergens are found in tests such as a skin test or blood test, it is important to protect dogs from these allergens. Because most of these allergens are environmental. However, it is difficult to constantly protect the dog against environmental causes, and therefore allergies often recur. Symptoms can be controlled, but there is no permanent cure. Treatment methods vary according to the length of the allergy period. Anti-inflammatory drugs, special shampoos, hyposensitization or desensitization therapies are preferred in the treatment.

dog lying unhappy next to bowl

What Is Food Allergy in Dogs and How Is It Treated?

Food allergy or food sensitivity can develop against almost all protein or carbohydrate components of the food. It is generally expressed as a hypersensitive response to a protein. Dairy products, beef, wheat gluten, chicken, chicken eggs, lamb and soy can often cause food allergies in dogs.

Food allergy can cause various symptoms such as itching, digestive system disorders and respiratory distress. In addition, different types of allergies such as both food allergy and atopy allergy can be seen simultaneously in a dog. This makes it very difficult to diagnose dog scratching.

Food allergy often cannot be treated with corticosteroids or other medical treatments. At this point, it is necessary to find the allergen that causes allergies in the food and remove the content from the diet. The easiest way to test for food allergies is to try an elimination diet with a hypoallergenic diet. It takes at least 8 weeks for all food products to be eliminated from the body, so the special diet should last at least 8 – 12 weeks. When a positive response and improvement occurs in the dog’s symptoms, the veterinarian provides information on how the next process will proceed.
dog licking paws

What is Contact Allergy in Dogs and How Is It Treated?

Contact allergy is the least common type of allergy in dogs. In order for the dog to have an allergic reaction, it must be in direct contact with the allergen. Pyrethrin in flea collars, pesticides used in the garden, wool or synthetic materials used in beds or carpets can cause allergies. Contact allergy can occur in dogs of any age.

When a dog has an allergic reaction to one of these chemicals, there is usually itching and discomfort at the contact area. This contact area is usually seen on the paws or abdomen. After the allergen is identified, the allergic reaction itself goes away when it is removed from the environment.

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