· Allergies: An overreaction of the immune system to a protein it perceives as a threat.
· These proteins can be in foods, fleas, pollen, and dust mite proteins…
· The immune system sees certain proteins as toxic invaders and gets all of its resources together to flush them out.
· This is where you see your pet start to react: Chronic diarrhea, chronic ear infections, runny eyes and tear stains, atopic dermatitis/allergic dermatitis – this is where they are itchy and inflamed, and over time, suffering from these symptoms the animals become more and more prone to lethargy…
· What do we do when these symptoms occur?
· Run to the VET.... hopefully you have a great vet that wants to get to the core of the problem as opposed to just giving you a band-aid in the form of corticosteroids & antihistamines or the absolutely toxic Apoquel… I call it the lazy doctors' drug of choice for animals with inflammatory ailments related to allergens. To understand more about this drug please read Dr. Deva Khalsa's article called: Why I wouldn’t give my dog Apoquel
· These treatments are all immune suppressive – the long terms use of corticosteroids, especially for dogs carries a high risk of multiple side effects – - Since histamines are not the only chemicals that cause allergic signs in allergic pets although generally harmless their use may not be are effective for every atopic pet.
By treating one ailment using a band-aid approach you will be causing other immune suppressive disorders which in turn will make our pets sicker and sicker.
· How do we figure out what is going on and what we should be telling our vets so they can help us in treating our pets without destroying their already hypersensitive immune system?
· Even though our pets cannot talk their coats and their poops speak volumes.
· Inflammatory skin reactions are signs that the body is trying to rid itself of these allergens/toxic invader proteins (blood rushes to the affected areas trying to bring with it those protective white blood cells and all that blood makes the area feel hot and irritated – oooh hot spot? And then the WBC release these protective chemicals to help the area heal but these protective chemicals may leak to the surrounding areas and cause all the tissue to swell and although this process is meant to heal instead it can stimulate the nerves and cause itching and pain.
· The poop factor- are your pets having constant runny poops or mucousy poops? These symptoms can also be signs that our pets cannot properly digest their foods….
· Why are we seeing more and more o f these types of reactions?
1. Genetics – inbreeding to get us those designer dogs, puppy mills, kitten mills
2. Environmental pollutants and toxins such as heavy metals found in fish flavored pet foods, and one of the worst culprits are topical and consumable flea and tick and heartworm medications – we are essentially pouring pesticides on and into our pets’ bodies – we are poisoning them.
4. Excessive use of antibiotics by the crappy vets (there are many great ones – be your pets advocate and the good doctors will be there with you) how many of you have had multiple doses of metronidazole given to your puppy before the age of 1? Talk about throwing off their ability to heal with an immune system that has been altered with.
5. Our reliance on processed junk foods.
6. Underexposure to nature
What to do:
1. An elimination diet using foods rich in fluids, minimally processed foods and whole foods and novel proteins if necessary.
2. Eliminate as much of the topical and oral flea and tick meds as possible– there are MANY natural alternatives which will take a little bit of effort but will have excellent results. In some areas, you may need to use the toxic stuff but there are options available to reduce the need for the amount of the chemical product used and how often while using alternative non-toxic methods in conjunction with the chemicals
3. Bathing /grooming regularly- topical decontamination of the environmental allergens & foreign proteins from the skin
4. Make sure you and your vet have made every effort to identify that what is causing a problem for your pet is, in fact, an allergy – Your vet needs to be able to differentiate atopy from other ailments that can cause itchiness- those ailments can be mange, bacterial infections, yeast, underlying hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism.