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Complementary Therapies for Pet Allergies



Inhalant allergies in the canine can be from the same causes as humans, but often present differently.  This can include various degrees of itching, licking, hair loss, and redness of the feet, ears, skin, eyes or a combination of these, depending where the histamines are released.  This can be seasonal or continue all year long.  Allergies often show up in mid-aged to older dogs as the body is finally overwhelmed by allergens triggering a response.  This is similar to a bee sting in a human where the first one isn't bad, but by the third one some people wind up in the emergency room.

Although the flea is often incriminated, over 50% of the itching dogs are due to inhalant allergies alone.  There are additional therapies helpful for more long term control of allergies, often without the side effects of traditional treatments.

Grape Seed Extract - this has a moderate antihistamine effect and works well on small canines.  It can also be added to other therapies to have more success.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids - these are mild anti-itch, anti-inflamatories that dampen inflammatory mediators causing reactions.  These are often used with traditional therapies as well.

Raw Honey - this works on a large number of canines, (approximately 40%) but it must be unprocessed and locally produced, carrying "local allergens" similar to hyposensitization therapy.  You can not get this product in the grocery store.

Antihistamines - Benadryl, Atarax, Chlorpheniramine, Zyrtec, Claritin, etc.  These have success rates from 25% to 60%, but dosages are all different depending on products and are nothing like human dosages.  Consult your Veterinarian, as some have potential side effects on the liver.

Immunostimulants - there is some evidence that boosting the immune system may keep the body from reacting to allergens.  Only a couple of products have displayed this, but it may be promising.

It would be wise to seek professional advice as this is a very complicated subject.  For instance, many canines may be itching due to bacterial or fungal infections on the skin that may not be visible or "contact allergies" from grass, dirt, laundry detergent or chemicals.  Also, many herbs are not harmless; valerian, skull cap, ephidra products, and blue green algae, for instance, have caused liver disease in humans.

Note on Neutraceuticals - many herbal products have been tested and found to have little to none of the ingredients you're looking for, leading you to assume it didn't work.  Get pharmaceutical grade products from your Veterinarian or a high-grade health food store.

Remember, your goal is your pet's long term comfort and health, but there may be trial and error involved.  If you want to know exactly what is the cause of the inhalant allergies, get a referral to a Board Certified Veterinarian Dermatologist.

The above is a reprint of an article written by Jack Landess, D.V.M., as a public service.  Reprint permission was obtained from the Florida Pet Pages.



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