Allergic reaction in dogs: what to do?

Veterinary consultation

An allergic reaction in dogs is one of these situations in which the vital safety of our dog can be affected. Allergic reactions are dangerous and can be fatal if you do not act quickly, consciously, and safely.

Different factors may trigger this situation. Sometimes, we can be prepared for them because we know the diseases of our pets. However, when they occur for the first time, they can be confused with other pathologies, and we downplay them.

What is an allergic reaction?

An allergic reaction is a specific and adaptive response of the immune system against a foreign body called an antigen. This article is not dangerous, infectious or toxic and, also, does not produce a reaction in the individuals of the general population, only to those organisms that are sensitized to that antigen.

The allergic reaction is characterized by not causing a response to the first contact with the antigen, which is known as the sensitization period. Therefore, our pet can touch – in some way – this antigen and nothing happens, but if it is exposed again for the second time, an allergic reaction can occur.

There are several types of allergic reactions:

  • Type I are the immediate hypersensitivity reactions. Inflation occurs within a few minutes of exposure to the agent. Organs such as the skin, respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system, and nervous system are usually affected.
  • Type II: Cytotoxic are reactions in which is the rupture of the membrane of erythrocytes and platelets occurs.
  • Type III: inflammation of organs such as skin, blood vessels, kidneys, and joints occurs, hours after exposure. Also, toxic enzymes are released.
  • Type IV: they are inflammatory reactions produced by the activation of T lymphocytes and the secretion of other substances of the immune system. Tissue damage occurs, that is, the destruction of tissues such as skin.

Common allergic reactions in dogs

Dogs that suffer from allergy usually develop it between six months and seven years of age, although most cases appear between the first and third years of life.

An allergic reaction in dogs tends to manifest through the skin. It begins to appear reddened and inflamed areas that usually cause a lot of itching or itching. The most common allergic reactions in dogs are:

Food Allergy

Certain foods cause an allergic reaction to dogs. In these cases, the animal usually coexists with the response in a permanent state of dermatitis, often misdiagnosed, such as atopic dermatitis. Also, occasionally, it is confused with an intolerance to food, where the immune system does not play any role.

Other symptoms that the allergic dog can show are gastritis, vomiting, and other pathologies connected to the digestive system.

According to some authors, this type of allergies is the cause of 10% of dermatitis that dogs suffer. And, if you do not want to perform specific tests for the detection of allergies, due to its high cost, the only solution is to deliver an elimination diet or the use of hypoallergenic feed.

In the elimination diets, the animal is deprived of specific ingredients for long periods. Then, that ingredient is offered again, and it is observed if the reaction returns.

The foods that most reactions usually cause, in order from highest to lowest, are:

  • Beef
  • Dairy products
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Pork
  • Rabbit
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Rice

Flea Bite Allergy

Logically, this reaction only appears in those dogs infected with fleas. Therefore, one way to avoid it is the use of specific flea repellents.

It is believed that fleas are the cause of 50% of dermatitis suffered by dogs. These animals can live in the dog without feeding, but when they do, the saliva they inject reacts with the dog’s immune system.

This causes inflammation and itching in the damaged area. Also, a high percentage of bites could cause anaphylactic shock, which is the most dangerous reaction that exists, since it compromises the life of the animal.

Allergic reaction to medications

As in humans, dogs may be allergic to certain types and drugs, such as vaccines, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, etc. For this reason, when a veterinarian medicates our pet in any way, he asks us to observe it and, before any change, quickly return to the consultation.

How to act against an allergic reaction in dogs

If we suspect that our dog suffers some allergic reaction, it is essential to visit the veterinarian. Any allergen, except pollen, mites, and others that are less dangerous, can end up causing a shock. In this situation, we must go as quickly as possible to the nearest veterinary center.

On the other hand, our pet lives with constant itching due to food that does not feel good is not ethical. It is in our hands to change their diet and find the healthiest diet for our quadruped companion.

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