Allergies in dogs

Allergy in dogs is, as a rule, a kind of food allergic reaction, that is reactive hypersensitivity to the allergen in the feed. External allergy symptoms in dogs are typical - skin itch and various rashes. However, the main allergic process takes place inside the animal's body, where histamine mediators of allergy are released.

Causes of allergies in dogs

The causes of allergy in animals, as well as the etiology of allergies in humans, still do not have a common scientifically proven base. The etiology of allergic reactions in dogs is studied relatively recently and to date there are dozens of versions, among which there is not one statistically justified. Among the reasons that are most often encountered in the scientific work of veterinarians, we can name the following: 

  • Dysfunction of diet, diet; 
  • Drug allergy; 
  • Hereditary factor; 
  • Stress.

Allergy in dogs is pathogenetically explained by two mechanisms - immune response and non-immune factor. Entering into the body allergen provokes excessive activity of the immune system and the release of the mediator of immediate reactions - histamine. The consequence can be really immediate allergic reaction, it is possible to form CIC-circulating immune complexes (antigens, antibodies and complement C3, C1g, C4) or delayed-type reaction is formed. Increased reactive sensitivity - sensitization can start before the allergen enters the digestive tract (gastrointestinal tract), possibly also its onset and after. A non-immune mechanism manifests itself as idiosyncrasy to certain types of food. The complexity of the diagnosis is that it is virtually impossible to clearly differentiate the immune and nonimmune mechanism of the allergic process. This is due to the polymorphic property of the allergy in principle and with a variety of symptoms, which is very similar to the signs of other non-allergic diseases.

Symptoms of allergies in dogs

Among the symptoms of animal allergy the following are most often recorded: 

  • Itching in any part of the animal's body; 
  • Otitis external; 
  • Gastroenterological signs - vomiting, flatulence, upset of the stool.

One of the common and well-diagnosed causes is parasite infestation, helminthiasis. But the most clinically manifested cause is food imbalance. This is a common problem of feeding all domestic carnivores, it is associated with the prevalence of carbohydrate feed, cereals and sweets. In addition, some fish species and factory-produced chicken meat, containing hormones and vitamin growth supplements, are also capable of provoking an allergy in dogs. With the normalization of nutrition, compliance with the diet, the allergy in dogs quickly recedes, which is the main argument in favor of the food etiology of allergic reactions.

How is the allergy diagnosed in dogs?

Modern veterinary science is equipped with sufficiently informative laboratory methods, equipment and reagents. However, it is difficult to diagnose allergy in animals with the biochemical method due to the peculiarities of the immune system. The basic method of identifying allergies as the cause of the symptomatology of unclear etiology is the food test. From the nutrition of the dog, whenever possible, all possible types of supplements are excluded, there are only two - the source of protein and the source of carbohydrates. If the symptoms disappear with this diet, the test results are considered positive. As a rule, testing lasts no less than 4 weeks and can last two months. If the test is positive, the dog again receives a normal set of products, which she was fed before the test. In the case of the resumption of allergic symptoms, the diagnosis of allergy is beyond doubt. It is also necessary to carefully inspect the animal before testing to exclude the presence of external parasites (fleas), and anthelminthic prophylaxis is also performed. All these measures are designed to ensure that testing is most accurate, informative and not distorted by false results not associated with allergies directly. In addition to the dietary test, provocation is practiced. The process looks like this: for 7-10 days in the dog food gradually add up the possible provocative products and track the symptoms. As a rule, the reaction occurs quickly enough, not later than the second day of the test. If there are no symptoms, you should look for the cause of the disease in another way and eliminate allergies. Basically, the provocation is carried out using protein products - eggs, meat, fish, whole milk products, then raw vegetables are added. This is how the individual diet and diet is made, which excludes the presence of provocative components in the dog's diet.

Treatment of allergies in dogs

Allergies in dogs are quite amenable to therapy, in contrast to allergies in humans, apparently due to a more resistant and tempered immunity. Therapy consists of several directions. The first stage is the neutralization of the stimulus and the exclusion of contact with it. If it is a product, it is removed from the diet. If it is a helminth, appropriate antiparasitic treatment is performed. Antihistamines are also used as a symptomatic treatment. External ointments are prescribed - glucocorticoids, which remove itching and redness. If secondary infections from scratching and wounds are present, antibiotics and mycoseptics may be prescribed, but not earlier than the second week after the beginning of the diet.

Allergies in dogs are a disease of the century, like human allergies. It should be noted that the existing therapeutic antiallergic techniques only alleviate the symptoms and alleviate the condition of the animal. It is much more expedient not to tolerate allergies in dogs, to carry out preventive measures, to monitor the nutrition and condition of the animal before the allergic problem has arisen.

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Last reviewed by: Aleksey Portnov , medical expert, on 01.06.2018

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