Allergy Testing & Immunotherapy in Dogs
TREATMENT OPTIONS for Itcy dogs and cats
Treating the dogs symptoms may include; cool baths with or without colloidal oatmeal, , or medicated shampoos. This can be done frequently but provides only temporary relief. Caution should be used with sprays and ointments because many contain potentially harmful substances. Cortispray is a low dose, non-systemic cortisone spray which can be safely used for short periods of time.
Allergy shots are very safe and many people have great success with them, however, they are very slow to work. It may be six to twelve months before improvement is seen. about intradermal skin testing for inhalant allergies. The average success rate of immunotherapy is 70-75%.
These compounds reduce itching by reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, they also affect every organ in the body. According to Dr. Ackerman, steroids should be considered only when the allergy season is short, the amount of drug required is small or as a last resort 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, decreased resistance to infection and increased susceptibility to seizures. In short, alternatives to steroid therapy should always be considered.
Antihistamines can be used with relative safety in dogs. About one third of pet owners report success with them. The major drawback, as with people, is sedation. Dr. Ackerman recommends that a minimum of three different types of antihistamines be tried before owners give up on this therapy.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory agents. They reportedly are helpful in 20% of allergic dogs. They are certainly worth a try because they are not harmful and have virtually no side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils (especially krill and cod) and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from plants containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), such as oil from the evening primrose. These supplements are different from those sold to produce a glossy coat. They tend to reduce inflammation that may lead to skin sores but are not as effective in reducing itching.
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 house 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.
While there is nothing you can do to prevent a rescue dog from developing allergies, breeders should be aware that allergic dogs SHOULD NOT BE BRED!!! Dr. Johnson confirmed that there is clinical proof that allergies are inherited!