Many of you have pets (and yourselves) with allergies and many of you are aware that springtime can be a time when the allergy symptoms are the worst. When the trees are blooming and the grasses start growing, the pollen counts become enormous and just a snoot full of these will often send your pet into a tail spin.
Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis) is extremely common in both dogs and cats. Symptoms will often include runny eyes, runny nose, paw licking, itchy ears and scratching. Other symptoms less often seen that are linked to allergies are ear infections, anal gland problems and reverse sneezing.
Why is it that so many pets and people suffer from allergies? The answer is that a conventional medical approach to allergies does not resolve the problem. I remember years ago when I was in vet school, we were told by the dermatologist that allergies were not curable. The best that we had to offer our clients was a method to control their symptoms. That usually means using drugs.
When a veterinarian diagnosis a pet with atopy, the question that she asks herself is whether she should treat the symptoms or do allergy testing in order to find out what the pet is allergic to. Most vets are aware that the pet’s caretaker is looking for a quick fix. No one likes to hear their pet scratching all the time. They also know that allergy testing and desensitization is expensive, takes a long time and does not always work. So, they usually opt to give medications to relieve the symptoms.
If we accept that allergies cannot be cured, then we find ourselves relying on the latest drugs that will give the quickest and longest relief. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have horrible side effects and potential long term effects leading to serious diseases like cancer. We must dig deeper to find an alternative that will allow us to avoid getting into this vicious cycle.
First. Allergies can be cured, no matter what your vet tells you. We can accept this when we take a look at why pets develop allergies. It all starts when the pet is very young. Chances are, the pet is being fed a heat-processed pet food which could be a kibble diet or canned food.
Heat-processed diets promote inflammation by producing inflammatory cytokines in the body. The insidious inflammation that happens in the pet’s body starts in the gut. In just a short time, the inflamed gut leads to leaky gut syndrome, where the gut becomes more porous and allows harmful material to enter into the blood system. Improperly processed food called macrolides enter into the blood stream and the young immune system identifies these food byproducts as foreign invaders and mount a defense against them, producing antibodies. In time these antibodies attack the macrolides, creating symptoms commonly seen in pets with allergies.
When the young pet’s immune system is hypersensitive, it is forming antibodies to anything entering the system. If it is springtime, and the pollen counts are high, the pet inhales the pollens and the immune system reacts to them forming more antibodies and in time, more allergy symptoms appear. Most atopy pets start showing symptoms between 1.5-2 years of age.
The formula that explains this process is simple: inappropriate diet> leaky gut> hypersensitive immune system> allergy symptoms. In order to cure allergies, we simply have to feed the correct diet and fix the over-sensitive immune system. We start fixing the immune system by fixing the damaged gut caused by the inappropriate diet. This can be done using bone broth, probiotics, digestive enzymes, coconut oil and grapefruit seed extract. This will repair the damaged gut and re-establish normal bowel microflora, which is essential for healing the immune system.
When a pet goes to the vet clinic for symptoms associated with atopy or other allergies, the vet will usually use a combination of antihistamines and drugs that will suppress the over-sensitive immune system. This might include steroids, Atopica or Adequan. Long-term use of any of these drugs can potentially cause serious problems and potentiate other diseases. I do not recommend using these drugs in either the dog or cat. There are other, natural methods for controlling symptoms while fixing the damaged gut and immune system.
Some vets with patients who have poor response to the drugs will often recommend allergy testing. Most of the vets who do this in their clinic will use antibody testing, where they obtain blood for allergy testing. The lab test will read antibody levels for regional allergens and create a list of allergens that are affecting the pet. The vet may choose to do desensitization by giving serum injections. Some labs will make an oral antigen that does the same as the injections. These function to exhaust the immune system to the point that it will not react to the allergies, thus reducing symptoms. The problem with this route is that it does not fix the damaged immune system.
If your pet has a history of allergies, start working on gut and immune repair immediately, before symptoms return. Working with allergies always works better when addressing them sooner than later. Itchy pets often end up with secondary skin and ear infections often having to be placed on antibiotics, which will lead to further gut imbalance. Contact a good holistic vet that can help you with an appropriate diet for your individual pet and use an alternative modality for dealing with the immune imbalances and symptoms. I prefer to use a Chinese medicine approach to my atopy patients.
Some natural supplements that may help with allergy symptoms include, astragalus, quercitin, bromelain, bovine colostrum, nettles and local honey.
If your pet has allergies, please contact me for a phone consultation and we will get started resolving the problem.