Common dog allergies

Pet Allergies, Bushypark Vets, Galway, Ireland

Common dog allergies

Is your pet itchy? It could be due to allergies, pets may develop allergies at any stage of life.  Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin, as their body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear depending on the allergen. There are three mainly seen allergens in pets, Food allergy (e.g. beef, chicken), flea hypersensitivity and the most common being environmental allergies (e,g. trees, dust, grass, pollens). Your pet may be scratching excessively or chewing at their paws. Other signs that your pet may have an allergy include constant licking at a particular area, hair loss and possibly diarrhoea. Allergies can have a major impact on the quality of life of your pet.

Food allergies or better known as adverse food reaction is a dermatological disease. In dogs skin, lesions can mimic both flea allergy and more commonly atopy. However, food allergy is also associated with gastrointestinal signs. The precise pathogenesis of adverse response to food is unclear. Some pets display a true allergic reaction. This is typically due to a naturally occurring protein and is usually mediated by antibodies. In other cases, it is a part of the food that triggers disease, so it is a non-immunological reaction.

Hydrolysed diets are produced by several of the main food manufacturers. The model of these diets is that the protein molecules are broken down into tiny fragments so small they are no longer able to induce an allergic reaction.

Flea Allergies are caused by the flea’s saliva that is injected into a pet’s skin during the flea’s feeding activity, sadly once dogs become allergic to fleas; it seems they are allergic for life. In dogs, flea allergy typically causes irritation along the back, especially over the tail base often causing alopecia. The best way to treat the allergy is to remove the offending allergens from the pet and the environment.

Environmental allergens are known as transdermal because they are allergens absorbed through the skin. Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin. Some can lead to year-round symptoms with seasonal peaks (house dust mite allergies) and some are strictly seasonal with a variety of peak seasons and length of the season depending on the type of pollen involved. Intradermal allergy testing or Comprehensive blood allergy tests allows to pinpoint the exact nature of your pet’s allergies and more importantly, provides the information necessary to custom formulate an allergy vaccine to desensitize your pet if warranted.

Allergies wax and wane all the time. This is due to a multitude of factors which include food triggers, amounts of allergen on the skin, environmental humidity, dry skin, pollen season, temperature and stress.