Allergies in dogs: classification, causes, symptoms, treatment

Allergic reactions in pets are not at all uncommon - the list of potential allergens is replenished almost daily. Therefore, the appearance of itching, urticaria, rashes on the skin of an animal requires the only competent step - contacting a specialist for professional help. Only a veterinarian can correctly determine the type of allergy (the classification of which is quite extensive), identify the "culprit" of the trouble and choose an effective treatment regimen.

What is allergy and how does it manifest itself?

Allergy is an atypical reaction of the body to any component of the environment during any contact with it. In a healthy dog, such extraneous components leave the body without consequences, but allergy sufferers show a special reaction to the "wrong" element - the release of histamine into the blood. It is histamine that provokes manifestations of an inflammatory nature on the skin: redness, rashes, swelling, redness, itching, etc.

The tendency to manifest allergic reactions in many breeds of dogs is determined at the genetic level and is inherited. The nature and intensity of the allergy depends on the amount of the allergen in the dog's body.

Unlike other types of warm-blooded animals, allergic manifestations in dogs have a number of features:

• Symptoms (especially itching) are more pronounced and more severe than in humans or other representatives of the fauna.

• The list of substances provocateurs is much more extensive than that of other biological species.

• The intensity of the reaction tends to increase with age.

• The dog's skin is the first to react to the allergen.

The most unpleasant thing about allergies in dogs is the uncontrolled scratching of the itchy epidermis, the appearance of microtraumas, abrasions and wounds and, as a complication as a result of the ingress of pathogenic bacteria, the addition of inflammation, sometimes even purulent.

Types of allergies in dogs and the type of its manifestations

An allergic reaction can be expressed in two ways:

  1. Instantaneous - appears immediately after the interaction of the animal's body with the allergen.
  2. Cumulative - signs appear after a certain interval, perhaps even several weeks.

What are the allergies in dogs?

Allergies are classified into several types, including by the type of penetration into the body or provoking factors (diseases):

  • Food (feed) - a reaction to certain types of food.
  • Medicinal - a reaction to the components in the composition of medicinal preparations.
  • Chemical - intolerance to certain care products or household chemicals.
  • Infectious - caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, endoparasites (helminths).
  • Insect - provoked by ectoparasites (blood-sucking insects).
  • Autoimmune - as a consequence of serious autoimmune disorders (this form is less common than all others).

The route of ingestion of the allergen into the body can be any: through the respiratory tract, digestive tract, direct contact with the skin surface, etc.

Common Dog Allergy Symptoms

The difficulty of identifying "problems" visually is due to the dense woolen vegetation on the dog's skin. The lighter its color and the shorter the length, the more noticeable the signs of an allergic reaction. In long-haired breeds, the allergy can be determined "by eye" only with a close examination of the pet, its muzzle, ears, paws.

A serious reason to suspect an allergic reaction in an animal will be the presence of the following symptoms:

  • Itching-  The dog itches all the time, gnaws something on the body, licks the limbs, rubs against the corners of furniture, door frames, the floor, etc.
  • Increased tearing and clear nasal discharge.
  • Flaky skin and redness between the toes and on the pads.
  • Dry skin, dandruff.
  • Rashes, swelling, traces of scratching.
  • Bald spots and active hair loss without characteristic inflammatory signs.
  • Disorders of bowel function (diarrhea or frequent bowel movements).
  • Armpit and chest effusion.

Attention! Animals do not sweat in the usual sense for humans. Their sweat glands are found in the region of the mouth and pads. Therefore, the moist surface of the skin in any other places, including the armpits, is always a symptom of a physiological disorder, and not a thermoregulation of the body.

Allergy symptoms in dogs depend on the type of pathology:

In addition to the general symptoms inherent in allergies in general, there are manifestations that are characteristic of a particular type of disease. This somewhat facilitates the task of the veterinarian in the preliminary diagnosis process.

Food form:

  • Very intense itching.
  • Skin rashes, redness.
  • Hair loss, dandruff, bald patches.
  • Drying of the skin.
  • Vomiting urge.
  • Redness and swelling of the oral mucous membranes.
  • Unhealthy breath.
  • Effusion on the chest, abdomen, and armpits.
  • Problems with bowel movements.

When prescribing a diagnostic diet (diet), the symptoms may disappear or intensify.

Dermatitis (flea):

  • The presence of ectoparasites (fleas).
  • Local signs of allergies (redness, rubbing).
  • Rash in the groin and sacrum area.
  • Exfoliation of the skin and formation of white scaly crusts.

Dermatitis (contact):

  • Signs of urticaria on "naked" areas of the body (groin and scrotum, lower extremities, abdomen).
  • Symptoms of eczema between the toes.
  • On the pads of the extremities, redness, inflammatory irritation.

4. Atopic form:

  • Lesions of the ears, muzzle, armpits, legs, groin.
  • Intense licking of the affected areas.

This type of allergy is most often experienced by pets from one to three years.

5. Infectious form:

  • Signs of fungal, bacterial lesions according to their nature.
  • Standard manifestations of allergies.

6. Dosage form:

  • Symptoms are manifested when taking / administering the medication.
  • Localization of lesions - muzzle (the edges of the rash are even, clearly defined).
  • Urticaria (appears and disappears).
  •  Anaphylaxis (common)

7. Allergic otitis media:

  • Inflammation of the ear canal.
  • Hyperthermia of the ears.
  • General malaise, lethargy.

8. Autoimmune form (against the background of the disease):

  • Pemphigus (leaf-shaped or erymatous).
  • Bullous lemphigoid.
  • Lupus.
  • Vasculitis.
  • Erythema.
  • Necrolysis (toxic).

Diagnosing allergies in dogs

To confirm an unpleasant diagnosis, the doctor must first of all exclude diseases that have a similar clinical picture. For this, the dog may be assigned the following procedures:

  • Skin scraping.
  • Study of feces for parasites.
  • Analysis of a blood sample.
  • Trichoscopy.
  • Bacterial culture.

The basic principle of animal dermatology is the elimination method possible allergens, especially skin parasites (lice, fleas, ticks, etc.), as well as food elements.

The food reaction of the dog is checked by drawing up a special protein diet and including in the diet alternately different proteins. The reaction issued to the diagnostic diet is entered into the card, and the provocateur product is permanently excluded from the pet's diet.

Allergic reactions manifested to the components of the environment most often depend on the season (flowering of certain plant species) and are detected by the method of tests.

Treatment and prevention of allergies in dogs

Therapy for this disease is carried out in an integrated way, and the choice of treatment method depends on the form of allergy and concomitant pathologies.

Two points are common to all treatment methods:

  1. Elimination of the action of the allergen on the pet.
  2. The use of antihistamine - local and general.

In addition, the doctor develops a special, hypoallergenic diet for the period of treatment and recovery and prescribes drug therapy.

  • General purpose antihistamines.
  • Topical antihistamines (for dermatitis).
  • Anti-shock (with dosage form and anaphylaxis).
  • Antibiotic and / or antifungal (in case of an infectious type).
  • Anti-inflammatory (for otitis media).
  • Glucocorticoids and immunosuppressants (in the autoimmune form).

Basic preventive methods:

  • Limiting contact with allergens (anthelmintic therapy, wet cleaning, etc.).
  • Water hygiene (frequent washing is indicated, even daily, when allergies are diagnosed, without the use of detergents).
  • Hyposensitization (immunotherapy). Injections of special ingredients to suppress an active reaction to allergens.
  • Diet. Elimination of allergenic foods and "harmful" proteins.

Allergy is not a sentence, and modern veterinary medicine has many ways to help a pet without losing the quality of life. It is enough just to see a doctor in time.


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