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Pet Allergies

| October 16, 2010

A common and well recognised reaction to allergens is scratching and paw chewing but there are a number of not so well recognised signs to look out for.

A common and well recognised reaction to allergens is scratching and paw chewing but there are a number of not so well recognised signs to look out for.

What are they?
An allergy is formed from an over-reaction of the body’s immune system. Like human’s, pets can suffer from a whole variety of allergies too. Most dogs and cats have a tendency towards allergies and if a pet has a host of chronic diseases that do not respond well to conventional medications then allergy related causes should be investigated. Allergic diseases can develop through, food, atopy, fleas, insects, drugs and contact. The most difficult part of treating an allergy is finding out what has caused it.

The substances that cause allergies are referred to as Allergens and they can be found anywhere in the pet’s environment – in the air, the habitat, the food and on other parasitic animals. The most common causes of allergies are flea saliva, foods and vegetable matter around the home or park. Also insecticides, household cleaners and shampoos can sometimes be the culprits.

The more allergic your pet becomes the more substances they are likely to become allergic to. Pets sometimes reach a point of sensitivity where they seem allergic to simply everything. It may take a little while but working out what is going on with your pet is a worthwhile exercise and can show dramatic results in terms of health.

Symptoms:
A common and well recognised reaction to allergens is scratching and paw chewing but there are a number of not so well recognised signs to look out for. Chronic ear problems, constipation, diarrhea, foot problems, conjunctivitus, seizures (fits), chronic discharges, urinary incontinence, skin problems, red eyes, hyperactivitiy, some forms of arthritis and overgrooming are all often symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is important to pay attention to when your pet gets symptoms, this way you can determine what is causing the allergy.

What can be done?

Lifestyle changes:
Pets often suffer from allergies when their immune systems are low. One of the most important things that you can do at home is encourage a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that your pet eats well and gets regular exercise. Natural and unprocessed food is best as it is usually the added chemicals in pet food that trigger an allergy. A 30-minute bout of exercise will also help relieve restless and itchy pets as activity creates a faster blood flow. On top of this it is important to keep your home clean to avoid any dust or flea allergies. Some pets can develop multiple sensitivities that encompass seemingly innocuous items such as their plastic food bowl so it is often helpful to eradicate any possible contaminent in the early stages of treatment.

Reducing allergens at home often has a positive effect and can also benefit the humans of the house. Easy things to do are to put dust covers on pillows, mattresses, pet beds to keep dust mites under control, thoroughly wash bedding and blankets weekly and to control humidity in the home with good ventilation and dehumidifiers. Dusting and vaccuuming regularly is also important. Allergic animals should be kept away from areas where possible allergens such as moss grow and also from dark, moist areas where indoor molds may exist. Do not let your pet roll in the grass and rinse their feet and lightly wipe them down after going to the park or when they have been outside.

Try to keep your garden weed free and your house free of dust.

Holistic Treatments:
Often an approach that shows results is a combination of dietary changes and herbal medicine. For a structured approach to treating your pet herbally, please consult one of our vets.

If your pet has a grass allergy, they may benefit from wearing booties (your vet or pet shop can assist you in ordering them. Some dogs wear body suits to help prevent exposure to contact allergens.

An elimination diet should be considered, ideally under veterinary guidance. The Natural Vet Company Factsheet on Elimination Diets may help you to get this underway or we offer a full range of consultations to guide you through the whole allergy identification and treatment process.

The bowel detoxification program may also be of help.

Various supplementation may be in order including Vitaming A,C,E and B complex, bioflaveonoids, Quercetin, Pycnogenois, Proanthocyanidins, Dimethylglycine, Selenium & Zinc, Flaxseed or fish oil (for dogs) and Fish Oil or evening primrose oils for cats. The most important thing to be done before commencing any form of supplementation is to get advice from a vet. be thorough and try to fully understand what your pets problem is and choose an appropriate strategy to help them. Random supplementation may do more harm than good and it is important to be consistent and to give your pet’s body time to heal.

Acupuncture reduces itchiness and may help manage the immune system. Acupressure may also be beneficial. From the Bach Flower Remedies – Crab Apple may be beneficial but remember to think about what stresses may be contributory. Homeopathy may be helpful in conjunction with dietary changes and a herbal approach. We advise consulting a trained veterinarian who practices homeopathy – the vet board in your country and state will be able to provide you with a list of specialists or the natural vet company can offer you advice directly.

If the allergic reaction is sudden and as a result of a sting or bite, a cold pack shoudl be applied to the affected area.Homeopathic Apis mel can be useful – bee stings can cause severe reactions in pets – please consult a vet.

Conventional Treatments:
As with humans, pets can undergo allergy testing to identify the cause of their allergies. Your vet would be able to advise you on the cost and process you would need to go through in order to get these tests done. In an extremely allergic pet this sometimes reduces the time it takes to correctly spot the allergens and therefore offer your pet relief. In some other pets the cause is well recognisable and the test telling you that your pet has a grass allergy is not the answer – how to reduce their reaction to it is what is needed.

Leaky gut syndrome or dysbiosis should be considered as an underlying causal factor – read our factsheet for more information on this condition.

Flea control is extremely important – read our factsheet on flea control to see whether you need to do any more in your fight against fleas. If you pet has fleas a good quality conventional flea treatment (available from your vet or from us directly) is the first recommended course of action.

Consult one of our vets:
For more information and guidance feel free to contact The Natural Vet Company directly. You can sign up for a consultation using our online ordering system. One of the many trained veterinarians will be more than happy to guide you through a personalised treatment plan to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy again very soon. Another option is to post your question to our online forums where other members can perhaps help you with advice and guidance (please note: we do not have any control over the advice given in our forums). Please feel free to suggest a topic for a factsheet and we will be happy to put one online.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS FACTSHEET IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL BACKGROUND READING AND NOT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL VETERINARY ADVICE. A VET CAN NOTICE SUBTLE CHANGES PERHAPS NOT OBVIOUS IN YOUR PET AND HAS MANY YEARS OF TRAINING TO PROVIDE THE BEST TREATMENT. WE DO NOT ADVISE YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THIS ADVICE WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH OUR VET OR YOURS.

Copyright & Credit:
Source:  The Natural Vet Company | http://www.naturalvetcompany.com
Photo copyright and courtesy: www.123rf.com

Category: Feline Health, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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