TREATMENT FOR ALLERGIES
Allergies, are caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to something in the environment that usually causes little problem in most people. Through my research, I’ve learned that allergies are quite common among the canine community.
Allergies include environmental allergies such as hay fever, and food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include red eyes, an itchy rash, runny nose, shortness of breath, or swelling. Food intolerances and food poisoning are considered separate conditions.
If your dog shows symptoms of allergies, it is important to have them tested to find out if it is, in fact, allergies. If so, what the allergen(s) are
Poor Henry suffers both; environmental and food allergies. At first, it was an irritating itch which became almost constant. As well as watery, red eyes. Then came the skin irritation. Not understanding what we were looking at, we decided we’d better have it looked at. So, off to the vet, we went. Our usual vet was not available, and the one who saw us believed it to be ringworm. At the height of his misery, Henry’s belly was raw with blisters and sore patches. Immediately, we paid a visit to our vet who decided it was not ringworm. Instead, he suggested it might me Lupus – a Systemic Autoimmune Disease. Poodles are believed to have a predilection to this condition.
A biopsy was taken – the results ‘inconclusive.’ We have another appointment scheduled this week during which, I plan to to discuss the issue further.
It is a horrible thing knowing your companion(s) are uncomfortable and to watch them suffer. We were prescribed Prednisone, a corticosteroid to suppress the immune system (allergic reactions are caused by an overly active immune system).
Other common treatment options include:
- Anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive drugs such as NSAIDs
- Additional immunosuppressive drugs such as Azathioprine.
- Antibiotics to treat any secondary infections.
- Chemotherapeutic treatments to suppress abnormal immune responses and pain.
- Limiting exposure to sunlight.
We try to restrict the amount of medication, administering only when required. It is a known fact that prolonged use of corticosteroids has harmful side-effects . Many holistic vets do not condone overuse of steroids, especially prolonged use for chronic allergy dog patients.
We have found a holistic veterinarian in our area, and I plan to take Henry to visit the clinic. In the meantime, we researched various, natural methods to help provide some relief for Henry.
Natural allergy remedies include:
Raw – still contains living enzymes needed to protect body from a histamine overdose
Local – contains the pollen to which the sufferers are reacting
Allergen Appropriate – If you suffer during the fall, you need to use raw, local honey that is harvested in the fall as these batches contain pollens present at this time of year.
The direct source! A small number of people experience a reaction to this powerful remedy, so it is important to start with just a grain. Watch for an increase in itching and redness around the eyes or other allergy symptoms. If you do not experience any issues, start to use ½-1 tsp. of pollen daily for a month before and during allergy season.
Oat & Lavender Baths:
Add oats to your dog’s bath water. Include three to four drops of 100% pure Lavender essential oil for additional soothing properties.
Alternatively, you can purchase shampoos that contain colloidal oatmeal and aloe. Aloe contains acemannan (a glycoprotein), which can produce relief from itching and inflammation. See additional point about aloe, below.
DO NOT use oats if the itching is caused by yeast infections
The grain is a carbohydrate, containing sugar, which yeast thrives on. That’s why it is so important to find out the cause of the itch before you give treatment to your dog.
If, like Henry, your dog licks or chews for relief from itching, I don’t recommend Aloe Vera Gel. Although it is a soothing, anti-inflammatory, when applied directly to a dog’s skin, aloe is also toxic for dogs, when ingested.
Better safe than sorry!
Epsom Salt Soak:
Make a ‘Paw Soak’ for itchy, and irritated paws. Dilute Epsom Salts in cool or lukewarm water. This can also be a treat if paws are a bit sore after a long walk.
Cucumber Slices – The signature ‘SPAW’ treatment. And rightly so:
Cool cucumber slices are soothing and hydrating when applied to hot spots and itchy skin.
Make an infusion of any of the following, and spray on the affected areas. These are a great alternative to steroid creams.
Calendula: Calendula contains salicylic acid (also found in aspirin), which is pain relieving. It is also antibacterial, antifungal and contains antiviral properties. Calendula can be used topically to soothe and heal itchy, irritated, and inflamed skin.
Thyme: Thyme also has antiseptic and antifungal properties. You can make an infusion using the fresh or dried herb of thyme for mild skin infections or where yeast is commonly found (e.g. between nails).
Echinacea: Ingested, Echinacea boosts the immune system. Applied topically, the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb can soothe the skin and heal wounds.
Apple Cider Vinegar: when used as a rinse, Apple Cider Vinegar provides quick relief from itchiness caused by allergies.
Witch Hazel: an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Effective on moist, leaky, skin irritations.
I hope this information helps you through allergy season!