An Exploration Of Allergies In Pets

  • Posted on: Mar 1 2020
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In pets allergies are very similar to those in humans. When the allergen enters the body, the immune system is meant to offer protection and will instead overreact in an effort to respond to a normal stimulus. While normally beneficial, in an allergic response, these actions can actually be harmful. The most commonly noted allergens for pets include proteins; which can be from plants, bugs, other animals, or even foods. 

How An Allergy Reaction Functions Throughout your pet’s body

There are millions of cells; some of these are classified as “mast cells”. Mast cells are an important part of the immune system. When an allergen combines with antibodies within the body, they then attach themselves to a mast cell. As a result of this attachment, histamines are released. Histamines are a chemical created by the body, responsible for most allergy side effects. These side effects can include redness, swelling, and itching. Allergies in your pet’s skin are most commonly noted by pet parents. These reactions can be in only one area (localized), or an all over reaction (generalized). In some pets, a respiratory reaction may be noticed. This is distinguished by symptoms like a runny nose, snoring, sneezing, coughing or wheezing. You may also notice runny eyes in your pet. In less common cases, your pet may present with vomiting or diarrhea. 

Common Allergies in Pets

Allergies are common in pets, no matter the breed or species. These will often appear once the pet has reached six months of age. Most affected pets will be diagnosed by the age of two. Some allergies are believed to be passed through the bloodline, while others are not. A common inherited allergy is that to plants and pollen. Allergies can be classified in several ways: they can be categorized by the type of allergen, the method that the allergen enters the body, or even the clinical signs the allergen causes. 

How Allergies In Pets Are Treated

The treatment of the allergic reaction is determined by the allergen. Allergies to flea bites, or dust and pollen are treated using anti inflammatory medications, soothing shampoos and even hyposensitization. In hyposensitization, your pet is injected with small amounts of the allergen, in an effort to desensitize the immune system. Allergies to food components require a change in food brand, to avoid frequent triggers. The most commonly noted triggers are proteins in the food. Your veterinarian can suggest a hypoallergenic prescription food. The pet will need to continue with this food for up to 8 weeks. This is the length of time that it takes for other food products to be eliminated by the body. If your pet is showing signs of allergies, contact us here at Heart of Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital for more information.

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