Managing pet allergies . . . naturally

Atopic dermatitis (allergies to environmental allergens) is the second most common allergy suffered by dogs and cats.  The condition is genetic, and occurs when a pet’s immune system reacts abnormally to allergens inhaled or absorbed through the skin, causing a pet to develop an allergy to environmental pollens, molds, dust mites, and other common airborne substances. The most common symptoms include itching, scratching, licking, and excessive chewing of the feet, legs and body, rubbing against furniture, carpet or walls, hair loss, foul-smelling skin, scaling and flaking.  Symptoms can occur year round, or only during spring to fall seasons. Unfortunately, once allergies develop they typically worsen over time, and with age.

Keeping it in check

There are numerous treatment options for atopic dermatitis, most of which include medications such as prednisone (steroid), antihistamines, Atopica (cyclosporine), and Apoquel, which provide temporary relief of symptoms. Because these treatments only address an animal’s symptoms they require long-term use and have possible long-term adverse side effects. None of these treatment options addresses the underlying disease or stop its progression so again, your pet’s allergies can gradually worsen over time.

A natural solution

Dr. Amy Randall of Allergy Animal and Ear Clinic cites allergen-specific immunotherapy as the only treatment known to alter the course of the disease rather than mask the symptoms. Immunity to allergens is built up through a series of injections or oral drops with increasingly larger doses of an allergy serum specifically formulated to a pet’s sensitivities. The doctor says the treatment is effective for allergies associated with pollen, molds and house dust mites.

“I am concerned about my patients’ long-term health and wellbeing, and immunotherapy is not a medication or a drug. It is an all-natural treatment used for decades on old, young, healthy and debilitated animals without long-term adverse side effects.”

Allergen specific immunotherapy works to regulate or normalize the immune system naturally by using small amounts of the naturally-occurring allergen(s).  It is believed to change the pet’s actual allergic response, and is the only treatment that can prevent worsening of your pet’s allergies.  Over time, immunotherapy can lead to a long-term solution for an animal’s allergies. Best of all, it has shown no long-term adverse side effects.

How is Allergen Specific Immunotherapy Formulated?

Allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy serum) is formulated based on the results of allergy testing done by either intradermal (skin) or blood testing.  The test identifies which trees, weeds, grasses, molds and house dust mites are causing the allergy symptoms. The gold standard is intradermal testing, as numerous studies have repeatedly shown it to be more accurate than blood testing. Intradermal testing is usually only available from board-certified veterinary dermatologists who are specialists trained through residency programs and years of practice to perform and accurately read the test results and formulate the serum.

Treatment has become easier

Long administered only through injections, allergy-specific immunotherapy is now possible using oral drops, which have proven equally efficacious. Oral treatment is typically easier, and much more readily accepted by the pet. Dispensed with a pump right into the pet’s mouth once or twice daily, oral immunotherapy absorbs through the mucous membranes.

Dr. Randall reports “extremely good results” with oral formulations. “Many patients are getting relief from their symptoms within a few months of treatment. We are even seeing some patients who have failed injectable immunotherapy have success with oral immunotherapy.”

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