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What is Allergy?

FAQ's

The End of The Allergy Journey

Hopefully having read the information in this Allergy Journey site, you are feeling more informed about your pet's allergy. The destination is a place where you feel confident about:

  • understanding why your pet has allergy

  • identifying allergy symptoms and knowing when to contact your vet

  • working with your vet to diagnose allergy and identify what your pet is allergic to

  • understanding the different treatment options available to you as the owner of an allergic pet

  • working with your vet to develop and adopt a treatment plan you are able to comply with

  • understanding the best way to maintain your allergic pet and keep their symptoms under control long-term

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help moving forward. 

Remember though, the best person to help you manage your pet's allergy is your veterinary surgeon and their team of support staff. Never be worried about getting in touch with them if you have any concerns about your pet at all. They will be happy to help!

Frequently asked questions

An allergy is an excessive reaction - hypersensitivity - of the immune system to substances which are common and harmless to most dogs. Key allergic triggers include pollens, mites, insects, mold, dander and foods. Dogs with allergies typically suffer from itching, scratching and redness (atopic dermatitis). Ocular symptoms (watery eyes and swelling around the eyes), asthma and gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) are also common.

The immunological mechanisms in dogs and humans are essentially the same. The symptoms in allergic dogs are foremost itching, scratching and redness (atopic dermatitis). The symptoms in humans are typically hay fever (allergic rhinitis) which comes with runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and swelling around the eyes.

Symptoms can overlap. Dogs may have ocular symptoms (watery eyes and swelling around the eyes) just like humans. Both humans and dogs may develop asthma from the allergy. Dogs may also have gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) which is not common among human allergy sufferers. Many human allergy patients develop atopic dermatitis, just like dogs.

Allergy is a chronic disease which does not go away. The disease is progressive which means that without treatment of the underlying immune dysregulation, allergies will get worse year after year. Allergy requires continuous hands-on management throughout the life of the dog.

There are a number of efficacious tools today to fight allergies. Allergy immunotherapy is the only treatment to address the root cause, not only the symptoms. Immunotherapy keeps the condition under control ensuring that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Food allergic dogs can develop symptoms as young as 4 or 5 months of age, while dogs allergic to environmental substances and those allergic to fleas usually develop allergies between 1 and 3 years of age.

No breed predisposition has been determined for food and flea allergy, while we know that many breeds are predisposed to environmental allergy (atopic dermatitis). Such breeds include the Lhasa Apso, Schnauzer, Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Bulldog, English Setter, Irish Setter Staffordshire Bull Terrier, French Bulldog and Chihuahua. Mixed breeds can also develop allergies.

No.

The key treatment for food allergies is avoidance. The path to avoidance goes a food trial of 8 weeks followed by a provocation. If the dog reacts to the provocative testing after the elimination diet, the diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed. A food reactivity test can be a helpful tool to determine which ingredients should be used in the food trial.

The premier choice for treating allergy is immunotherapy. It is an all-natural solution which is safe, effective and for long-term use. It is the only allergy treatment to address the root cause of the disease, not only the symptoms. Immunotherapy keeps the condition under control ensuring that that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated.

There are several short-term solutions to reduce the itch. Steroids (prednisolone, prednicortone, Medrol), oclacitinib (Apoquel), Lokivetmab (Cytopoint) and ciclosporine (Atopica, Cyclance, Sporimune) are drugs with well-documented effect. These drugs will stop the itch and redness while you give them. Once you stop them, sooner or later the itch will come back. Due to potential side effects, these drugs should not be used for long term therapy.

There are several options for short-term itch relief. Cortisone (prednisolone, prednicortone, Medrol ), oclacitinib (Apoquel), lokivetmab (Cytopoint) and ciclosporine (Atopica, Cyclance, Sporimune) are drugs with well-documented effect. These drugs will stop the itch and redness while you give them. Once you stop them, sooner or later the itch will come back because they do not address the root cause of allergy. Due to potential side effects, they should not be used for long term therapy. The only long-term solution for allergy is immunotherapy. It keeps the condition under control ensuring that that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated and it keeps the disease from progressing.

Yes, there are many products with different potency, depending on how itchy your dog is. There are soothing products that reduce the itch and the transepidermal water loss. Others contain antiseptics to control or restore the microbiome of the skin or the ear canal. Food supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can also help to improve the skin barrier and reduce the itch.

Yes, bathing an allergic dog may be helpful in relieving itch and washing away the allergens that stick on its skin and coat. The beneficial effect can last for 2-3 days. After shampooing you may want to use a conditioner to keep the skin from drying. Conditioners can be applied as leave on sprays. Conditioning sprays can also be used between bathings.

There are many different shampoos usually with different effects. Generally, these products contain hydrating substances (fatty acids and lipids, phytosphingosine, urea, glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, and chitosanide). In case the skin of your dog is infected with bacteria or yeasts, you may use antiseptic shampoos.

Supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids or PEA can help relieve itch and skin lesions in your allergic dog.

Unfortunately, it is still not known how to prevent the disease in a predisposed dog.

You can. However, as it is an inherited disease, the offspring would be at risk to develop allergy as well.

Apoquel is an immunomodulatory drug which prevents the itch signal from reaching the brain. It comes in tablet form and 1 to 2 are taken per day depending on the weight of the dog.

While Apoquel may be successful at blocking the itch signals and alleviate symptoms for a short period, it does not treat the underlying allergic disease. Also, the drug negatively impacts key immune functions such as the body’s ability to fight infections.

Our recommendation is to use Apoquel in conjunction with immunotherapy to ensure your dog is comfortable but with a long-term goal of only administering allergy immunotherapy for your dog’s condition.

Apoquel’s key side effect is that it suppresses your dog’s immune system and negatively impacts the body’s ability to fight infections. It can also lead to weight gain.

Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody-based biologic therapy for itch relief for short periods. It is injected in the clinic and typically provides relief for around 4 weeks. Cytopoint neutralizes a specific protein which helps to send itch signals from the site of the allergic inflammation through the nervous system to the brain.

Cytopoint is best used as short-term therapy for itch relief in conjunction with the early, build-up phase of immunotherapy or to help control occasional flare-ups that come with chronic allergic disease. Cytopoint fails to address the underlying cause of allergy and will not prevent the disease from progressing.

No independent studies on side effects following long-term use of Cytopoint are available at the moment.

Menu

What is Allergy?

FAQ's

The End of The Allergy Journey

Hopefully having read the information in this Allergy Journey site, you are feeling more informed about your pet's allergy. The destination is a place where you feel confident about:

  • understanding why your pet has allergy

  • identifying allergy symptoms and knowing when to contact your vet

  • working with your vet to diagnose allergy and identify what your pet is allergic to

  • understanding the different treatment options available to you as the owner of an allergic pet

  • working with your vet to develop and adopt a treatment plan you are able to comply with

  • understanding the best way to maintain your allergic pet and keep their symptoms under control long-term

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help moving forward. 

Remember though, the best person to help you manage your pet's allergy is your veterinary surgeon and their team of support staff. Never be worried about getting in touch with them if you have any concerns about your pet at all. They will be happy to help!

Frequently asked questions

An allergy is an excessive reaction - hypersensitivity - of the immune system to substances which are common and harmless to most dogs. Key allergic triggers include pollens, mites, insects, mold, dander and foods. Dogs with allergies typically suffer from itching, scratching and redness (atopic dermatitis). Ocular symptoms (watery eyes and swelling around the eyes), asthma and gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) are also common.

The immunological mechanisms in dogs and humans are essentially the same. The symptoms in allergic dogs are foremost itching, scratching and redness (atopic dermatitis). The symptoms in humans are typically hay fever (allergic rhinitis) which comes with runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes and swelling around the eyes.

Symptoms can overlap. Dogs may have ocular symptoms (watery eyes and swelling around the eyes) just like humans. Both humans and dogs may develop asthma from the allergy. Dogs may also have gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) which is not common among human allergy sufferers. Many human allergy patients develop atopic dermatitis, just like dogs.

Allergy is a chronic disease which does not go away. The disease is progressive which means that without treatment of the underlying immune dysregulation, allergies will get worse year after year. Allergy requires continuous hands-on management throughout the life of the dog.

There are a number of efficacious tools today to fight allergies. Allergy immunotherapy is the only treatment to address the root cause, not only the symptoms. Immunotherapy keeps the condition under control ensuring that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Food allergic dogs can develop symptoms as young as 4 or 5 months of age, while dogs allergic to environmental substances and those allergic to fleas usually develop allergies between 1 and 3 years of age.

No breed predisposition has been determined for food and flea allergy, while we know that many breeds are predisposed to environmental allergy (atopic dermatitis). Such breeds include the Lhasa Apso, Schnauzer, Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Poodle, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Bulldog, English Setter, Irish Setter Staffordshire Bull Terrier, French Bulldog and Chihuahua. Mixed breeds can also develop allergies.

No.

The key treatment for food allergies is avoidance. The path to avoidance goes a food trial of 8 weeks followed by a provocation. If the dog reacts to the provocative testing after the elimination diet, the diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed. A food reactivity test can be a helpful tool to determine which ingredients should be used in the food trial.

The premier choice for treating allergy is immunotherapy. It is an all-natural solution which is safe, effective and for long-term use. It is the only allergy treatment to address the root cause of the disease, not only the symptoms. Immunotherapy keeps the condition under control ensuring that that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated.

There are several short-term solutions to reduce the itch. Steroids (prednisolone, prednicortone, Medrol), oclacitinib (Apoquel), Lokivetmab (Cytopoint) and ciclosporine (Atopica, Cyclance, Sporimune) are drugs with well-documented effect. These drugs will stop the itch and redness while you give them. Once you stop them, sooner or later the itch will come back. Due to potential side effects, these drugs should not be used for long term therapy.

There are several options for short-term itch relief. Cortisone (prednisolone, prednicortone, Medrol ), oclacitinib (Apoquel), lokivetmab (Cytopoint) and ciclosporine (Atopica, Cyclance, Sporimune) are drugs with well-documented effect. These drugs will stop the itch and redness while you give them. Once you stop them, sooner or later the itch will come back because they do not address the root cause of allergy. Due to potential side effects, they should not be used for long term therapy. The only long-term solution for allergy is immunotherapy. It keeps the condition under control ensuring that that the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated and it keeps the disease from progressing.

Yes, there are many products with different potency, depending on how itchy your dog is. There are soothing products that reduce the itch and the transepidermal water loss. Others contain antiseptics to control or restore the microbiome of the skin or the ear canal. Food supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can also help to improve the skin barrier and reduce the itch.

Yes, bathing an allergic dog may be helpful in relieving itch and washing away the allergens that stick on its skin and coat. The beneficial effect can last for 2-3 days. After shampooing you may want to use a conditioner to keep the skin from drying. Conditioners can be applied as leave on sprays. Conditioning sprays can also be used between bathings.

There are many different shampoos usually with different effects. Generally, these products contain hydrating substances (fatty acids and lipids, phytosphingosine, urea, glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, and chitosanide). In case the skin of your dog is infected with bacteria or yeasts, you may use antiseptic shampoos.

Supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids or PEA can help relieve itch and skin lesions in your allergic dog.

Unfortunately, it is still not known how to prevent the disease in a predisposed dog.

You can. However, as it is an inherited disease, the offspring would be at risk to develop allergy as well.

Apoquel is an immunomodulatory drug which prevents the itch signal from reaching the brain. It comes in tablet form and 1 to 2 are taken per day depending on the weight of the dog.

While Apoquel may be successful at blocking the itch signals and alleviate symptoms for a short period, it does not treat the underlying allergic disease. Also, the drug negatively impacts key immune functions such as the body’s ability to fight infections.

Our recommendation is to use Apoquel in conjunction with immunotherapy to ensure your dog is comfortable but with a long-term goal of only administering allergy immunotherapy for your dog’s condition.

Apoquel’s key side effect is that it suppresses your dog’s immune system and negatively impacts the body’s ability to fight infections. It can also lead to weight gain.

Cytopoint is a monoclonal antibody-based biologic therapy for itch relief for short periods. It is injected in the clinic and typically provides relief for around 4 weeks. Cytopoint neutralizes a specific protein which helps to send itch signals from the site of the allergic inflammation through the nervous system to the brain.

Cytopoint is best used as short-term therapy for itch relief in conjunction with the early, build-up phase of immunotherapy or to help control occasional flare-ups that come with chronic allergic disease. Cytopoint fails to address the underlying cause of allergy and will not prevent the disease from progressing.

No independent studies on side effects following long-term use of Cytopoint are available at the moment.