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Allergies In Animals

Allergies In Animals

Allergies in animals are common and can be caused by proteins found in an animal’s skin (dander), saliva, and urine. Symptoms of animal allergens include

  • Sneezing
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • watery eyes
  • asthma symptoms

Treatment options include avoidance, allergy shots, and medications like antihistamines and nasal sprays.

In animals, like dogs, allergies can be triggered by various substances in the air or food, leading to inflammation, skin issues, and itching. Airborne allergies in dogs, known as atopy or canine atopic dermatitis, can manifest as itching, skin redness, and swelling, affecting breeds predisposed to allergies. Food allergies in dogs are less common but can include beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk. Treatment involves identifying and avoiding the allergens.

Dog allergies

Allergies are a common problem in dogs, affecting around 10-15% of the canine population.

Types of Dog allergies

Allergies that are common in dogs are as:

  • Food allergies: Dogs can be allergic to ingredients like beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk. Signs include skin irritation, digestive issues, and ear infections.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis: Some dogs have an allergic reaction to flea saliva, causing intense itching, redness, and skin inflammation.
  • Atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies): Dogs can be allergic to substances like pollen, mold, dust, or certain plants. This often causes seasonal itching, especially on the paws, face, ears, and abdomen.
  • Contact allergies: Reactions occur when a dog’s skin touches an allergen like a cleaning product or plant. The irritation is localized to the area that came into contact with the allergen.

Symptoms of allergies in Dogs

Common symptoms of allergies in dogs include:

  • Itchy, red, inflamed skin
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids
  • Ear infections
  • Sneezing, coughing, wheezing
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea

Certain breeds like Retrievers, Terriers, Boxers, and Shar-Peis are more prone to developing allergies. Diagnosis involves ruling out other conditions and allergy testing. Treatment aims to avoid allergens, manage symptoms, and desensitize the immune system through immunotherapy.

Best food for Dog allergy

When choosing a dog food for allergies, look for limited ingredient formulas with novel proteins, hydrolyzed proteins, or grain-free recipes. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog’s specific allergies and to rule out environmental or contact allergies.

How Dog allergy testing is done?

There are two main types of dog allergy testing:

  • Intradermal skin testing (IDST): This is considered the gold standard for identifying environmental allergens causing atopic dermatitis in dogs. In this process small amount of allergens are added in the skin and then observe the results. The dog is usually sedated for this test, which is performed by a veterinary dermatologist.
  • Serum allergy testing (RAST or ELISA): These blood tests look for allergen-specific IgE antibodies. While less accurate than IDST, they can be performed by a regular veterinarian without sedation. The sample of blood is sent to laboratory for analysis.

While no allergy test is 100% accurate, combining the results of IDST and serum testing can provide the most complete picture of a dog’s allergies. Allergy testing is an important tool to diagnose and manage atopic dermatitis in dogs.

Cat allergies

Cat allergies are a common type of allergy that affect around 10% of the population in the United States.

Common symptoms of cat allergies

Common symptoms of allergies found in cats are as;

  • Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing
  • Itchy, running eyes
  • Nasal congestion and a runny nose
  • Skin rashes, hives, or eczema
  • Itching in skin particularly on face, arms and chest

Cat allergies are caused by proteins found in a cat’s saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin). When a person with a cat allergy comes into contact with these proteins, their immune system overreacts and triggers the allergy symptoms.

Types of cat allergies

There are several types of cat allergies:

  • Environmental allergies to substances like pollen, dust, and mold that cats can bring into the home
  • Food allergies to certain proteins in a cat’s diet
  • Flea allergies to flea saliva
  • Contact allergies to things like shampoos or bedding

To diagnose a cat allergy, a doctor may perform a blood test or skin test. Treatment options include antihistamines, nasal sprays, allergy shots, and avoiding contact with cats. Keeping a cat out of the bedroom and using HEPA air filters can also help reduce symptoms.

While there is no cure for cat allergies, the symptoms can be managed with proper treatment and prevention. Consulting with an allergist is recommended for anyone experiencing severe or persistent cat allergy symptoms.

Best food for cat allergy

The best food for a cat with allergies is a hypoallergenic diet that avoids common allergens like beef, fish, chicken, wheat, corn, dairy, lamb, egg, barley, and rabbit. Supplements are not recommended as they may cause reactions. Medications like steroids can provide symptomatic relief while transitioning to the new diet. Patience is needed, as it can take 10 weeks for symptoms to fully resolve once the allergen is removed.

How Cat allergy testing is done?

There are a few main types of allergy tests that can be used to diagnose cat allergies in cats:

  • Skin testing (intradermal skin testing or IDST): Small amounts of potential allergens are injected into the skin. If the cat is allergic, there will be a localized reaction like swelling or redness at the injection site. This test requires sedation and shaving an area of fur. Results are available immediately.
  • Blood testing (RAST or serum IgE testing): A blood sample is sent to a lab to measure levels of IgE antibodies to different allergens. It can help diagnose environmental allergies but has a higher rate of false positives compared to skin testing. No sedation is needed.
  • Food trials: For suspected food allergies, the cat is fed a hypoallergenic diet for several weeks. If symptoms improve, the old diet is reintroduced to see if the allergy signs return, confirming a food allergy diagnosis.

Skin testing is considered more accurate for diagnosing environmental allergies, while blood tests are easier to perform. Food trials are the gold standard for food allergies. Allergy testing helps identify the specific allergens to avoid or treat with immunotherapy. Proper diagnosis is important since allergies cannot be cured, only managed.


1: Grass allergy in dogs?

Dogs can develop allergies to grass pollen, which is a common cause of skin and respiratory issues in canines. Symptoms include excessive scratching, licking, red and inflamed skin, hives, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting. Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Miniature Schnauzers, Pugs, and Retrievers are more prone to grass allergies.

Grass allergies are caused by pollen from grasses like Bermuda, fescue, alfalfa, or rye. Dogs can be exposed by inhaling pollen, absorbing it through the skin, or ingesting it while grooming. Symptoms are often worse in spring and summer when pollen levels are higher.

Diagnosis involves ruling out other potential causes and may include a skin examination, blood tests, and discussing the dog’s history with the vet. Treatment aims to manage symptoms and make the dog more comfortable.

2: What is rare allergy?

Some of the rarest allergies in the world include:

  • Water allergy (Aquagenic urticaria): Patients develop painful hives and rashes when their skin is exposed to water, regardless of temperature. The allergy is usually restricted to skin contact and most can still ingest water without consequence.
  • Exercise-induced anaphylaxis: Physical exertion triggers an allergic reaction with symptoms ranging from mild hives and itching to severe difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. The exact cause is unknown but certain foods or medications may play a role.
  • Sunlight allergy (Solar urticaria): Exposure to UV rays causes hives to develop on the skin. This allergy is challenging to manage given the pervasiveness of sunlight. It differs from sunburn or photosensitivity due to medications.
  • Cold urticaria: An allergic reaction to cold temperatures, including ice, causing redness, itching, swelling and hives on exposed skin. When the condition become severe it will results in anaphylaxis.
  • Allergy to money: Contact dermatitis to metals like nickel, commonly found in coins, can result in an allergic skin rash, blisters, itching and redness when handling money.

3: What is Chicken allergy in dogs?

Poultry allergies in dogs, particularly chicken allergies, can manifest in various symptoms affecting the skin, gastrointestinal system, and respiratory tract. Common symptoms include itching, skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, coughing, and wheezing. These allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to proteins in chicken, leading to inflammatory responses and discomfort for the dog.

Diagnosis involves veterinary expertise, and treatment typically involves eliminating chicken from the dog’s diet and transitioning to alternative protein sources like lamb, fish, or turkey. Managing dog allergies includes avoidance strategies, medications, allergy shots, grooming, and supportive care. If you suspect a chicken allergy in your dog, observing and documenting symptoms, especially gastrointestinal issues, skin irritations, and respiratory problems, is crucial for diagnosis and effective management.

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