by Dr. Cinthia Maro
If your pet suffers from allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, or autoimmune disorders, there is hope in staying away from steroids.
There are many options available to achieve a better quality of life and comfort for your companion.
Contrary to what many of us have been told and taught, there is an allergy cure that does not contain drugs and is available for humans as well as animals of other species.
Veterinary and human medicine has come a long way in creating solutions for allergic or sensitive patients in recent decades. The first step in determining the ideal therapy for a pet is confirming the diagnosis.
In my experience, I’ve seen many pets with combinations of health issues that prevent them from responding to traditional allergy treatments, and in some cases, prescription allergy medications don’t provide enough comfort.
Fur mites, fungal infections, and thyroid and Cushing’s disease, both of which are hormonal imbalances, often complicate the symptoms of allergic pets and do not improve with allergy medication.
When your vet recommends blood work before prescribing drug therapy, he does so for good reason. Allergy medications will worsen many hormonal imbalances, and itching symptoms may increase.
Nutritional imbalances can also mimic allergies, so it’s important to discuss diet and supplements with your veterinarian when your pet presents with allergy symptoms. Vitamin A, E, or fatty acid deficiencies can mimic atopy and skin allergies, which is why I often do nutritional profiling on my patients to specifically focus on balancing the diet.
Additionally, yeast overgrowth in the gut can lead to yeast overgrowth on the skin and trigger sensitivities to food ingredients. Improving gut health is key to successfully treating allergy sufferers and managing fungal skin infections.
Specific allergy testing via serum or saliva testing may be ordered to help pet owners reduce exposure to known allergens, both food and environmental. Although there are deficiencies in serum testing, it can help identify some safer foods and the use of an elimination diet.
True anaphylactic or IgE-mediated allergies (a type of immunoglobulin the body produces to protect the patient, which acts against the individual when the immune system over-responds to an allergen) are often evidenced by dramatic signs. A patient eats food, receives a vaccine, breathes perfume, or is stung by a bee and quickly develops a swollen throat, hives, itching, or other obvious symptoms of distress. These severe allergic responses can be treated with antihistamines, steroids, and, in the event of anaphylaxis, the use of epinephrine to reverse symptoms and save the patient from progression to hospitalization and death.
These types of allergies, while serious and life-threatening, make it easier for a doctor to identify the cause.
Most other minor allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, and IgG-mediated sensitivities are milder and the signs appear more slowly and are often quite subtle. These types of allergens can include all kinds of physical and chemical elements, and even emotional events that cause slow responses like headaches, abdominal cramps, fatigue, a strange skin rash that goes away quickly, muscle cramps, and more. When these symptoms occur 12 hours after eating, we often dismiss them as stress, food poisoning, or other issues that are hard to confirm.
In pets, they have no way of communicating when they’re feeling a little under the weather, so in many cases, humans continue to expose pets to more allergens, until really big signs develop. Symptoms like shedding a lot of fur, biting feet all night, hiding more, and playing less can be related to many low-grade sensitivities that add up to escalating health issues.
Although steroids and antihistamines are still prescribed for short-term control of allergic symptoms, new medications have been developed that can intercept the allergic response chemicals in dogs’ bodies. Some of these monoclonal antibodies are available in injectable form to help dogs with atopic allergies. Other immune system regulators include injections of specific antigens, tailored for each pet, and a drug called Apoquel. There is some controversy over the use of Apoquel as some researchers have seen links to the development of cancer.
In my practice, I often use a treatment protocol called veterinary NAET, which not only identifies allergens through NST (neuromuscular sensitivity testing), but also helps retrain or reset the immune system to allow for future exposure. to allergens. Once desensitized, the patient can eat the food again or come in contact with the chemical or have a bee sting without a reaction. With repeated treatments for specific allergens, many of my patients with severe allergies become medication free.
This treatment was developed for humans and is available for the treatment of all types of allergies, including tree nuts and peanuts, through certified human physicians.
Pets can also get better if they receive veterinary NAET treatments from a certified doctor. Since 1998, I have been performing Veterinary NAET and have documented many wonderful success stories. Cases of food allergies, asthma in cats, recurrent bladder stones, recurrent infections, drug and vaccine allergies, cardiomyopathy and many other immune disorders have benefited from this therapy.
If your pet suffers from suspected allergies, make sure they are diagnosed by a veterinarian and can guide you in managing diet and environment, while managing allergic symptoms with the safest medications or drug-free methods for your pet.
Dr. Cynthia Maro is a veterinarian at Ellwood Animal Hospital in Ellwood City and Chippewa Animal Hospital in Chippewa Township. She writes a bi-weekly column on pet care and health issues. If she has a topic that she would like to address, send her an email to [email protected]