324 – Veterinary Voice: Allergies! Food, Inhalant, Fleas & More

Veterinary Voice_ (5)

Veterinary Voice: Allergies! Food, Inhalant, Fleas & More

Food allergies are not as common as people believe, according to veterinarian Marty Greer. Inhalant, contact and flea allergies are more prevalent. Food allergy is mostly associated with chronic ear infections and recurrent skin problems. Conclusive diagnosis requires tedious food elimination diets.

“Fall is a terrible time for allergies,” Greer noted. “Especially inhalant allergies and contact allergies of pollen in the grass. You can wash the dog’s feet at night to help reduce symptoms.”

Foot chewing is the top symptom for inhalant/contact allergy, Greer said. She also observed that allergies can also be additive. A dog may have a food allergy that is only triggered by the addition of a seasonal contact allergy, for example.

It only takes one!

Flea allergy is signaled by dogs that are itchy around the rump, Greer noted. She added that one flea bite is all it may take to set off an allergic response.

“Flea control products today are really good. Topical or oral, they are very effective. Vacuuming regularly is an important control system for fleas,” Greer said.

Newer flea/tick control products affect the nervous system of only the parasite, Greer said. Older organophosphate-based products were not as good, she added.

Pro/Con of flea/tick preventatives

Oral meds are not recommended for patients with a history of seizures, Greer said. “They are not going to make a normal dog have a seizure. But they could trigger seizure sensitive dogs. Bravecto is the only oral medication labeled for breeding dogs,” she added.

Advantages to the oral preventatives are that they leave no residue on coat, Greer said. The advantages of topical treatments is they are not a concern in seizure sensitive patients and they make a repellant shield to biting insects. Topicals also get rid of fleas/ticks more quickly.

Anti inflammatory treatments

“In the last 10-15 years, new products have come on the market to help to replace long-term steroid use,” Greer said. “Short course steroid use is effective and the side effects are minimal.”

Links and information from Dr. Greer to learn more:

  1. Atopica https://www.elanco.us/products-services/dogs/atopica-cyclosporine-capsules-usp-modified Dog Quiz: https://us.atopica.com/survey-dog , Cat Quiz: https://us.atopica.com/survey-cat
  2. Apoquel https://www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/apoquel/index.aspx
  3. Cytopoint https://www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/cytopoint/the-itch-cycle.aspx
  • Do not use APOQUEL in dogs less than 12 months of age or those with serious infections. APOQUEL may increase the chances of developing serious infections, and may cause existing parasitic skin infestations or pre-existing cancers to get worse. APOQUEL has not been tested in dogs receiving some medications including some commonly used to treat skin conditions such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine. Do not use in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Most common side effects are vomiting and diarrhea. APOQUEL has been used safely with many common medications including parasiticides, antibiotics and vaccines
  • CYTOPOINT is a monoclonal antibody (mAb)* treatment for dogs that specifically targets and neutralizes canine IL-31, an important cytokine involved in sending the itch signal to the brain in chronic atopic dermatitis2
  • Because it is highly targeted to a specific cytokine involved in canine atopic dermatitis, CYTOPOINT has minimal impact on normal immune functions3
  • CYTOPOINT is eliminated via normal protein degradation pathways in the same way as naturally occurring antibodies; metabolism does not involve the liver or kidneys


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