An allergy is a state of over-reaction by your pet’s immune system to a particular substance called an ‘allergen’. Most allergens are proteins. Repeated exposure to the allergen may over-sensitize the immune system. This means that the immune response, which is normally protective, can be harmful. The actual immune reactions involved in allergies are quite complex. Most reactions involve an antibody in the blood called (IgE). When these cells are attached to the allergen, they break up and release potent chemicals such as histamines, which cause local inflammation. This inflammation causes the various signs associated with an allergic reaction.
Symptoms Of An Allergy
The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin. Often this is extended to the ear, with bacterial and yeast ear infections. Some pets will show allergies as excessive paw licking, while others will have excessive licking of their anus. Occasionally symptoms involve the respiratory system with coughing, sneezing, and runny eyes. In food allergies your pet may vomit or have diarrhea.
- THE BATH: An oatmeal shampoo with cool water will ease the itchiest skin. Leave the shampoo on for 10 minutes then rinse well. With the most severe allergies, bathe your pet twice weekly.
- SOOTHE IT TOPICALLY: Calendula ointment is a herbal medication that has been successfully used to relieve the itch. Apply a thin coat twice daily to affected areas.
- THE SUPPLEMENT CONNECTION: Fatty Acid supplements are very helpful in decreasing the level of inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids are most important. A great inexpensive source is ground Flax Seeds; I give 1 teaspoon per cup of dog food. Cats are unable to metabolize Flax, so I only recommend the liquid supplement for them. Other sources include fish oil, primrose oil and specific veterinary supplements.
- ANTIOXIDANTS: Vitamin E and Vitamin C may help: the Vitamin E dose is 100 IU per 10 lbs of body weight once daily; the Vitamin C dose is 100mg per 10 lbs of body weight once daily.
- PRESSURE YOUR WAY TO HEALTH: Acupressure appears to be effective for some of those itchy and scratchy pets. Press one or more of the points for 1 minute three times a day: LI4, found on the web of the dewclaw, inside the front leg; and LI11, found on the outside of the front leg, at the elbow
- ANTIHISTAMINES: Benadryl is the most commonly used antihistamine. It is given at a dose of 1mg per pound of body weight, 2-3 times a day. Cats respond well to Chlortripolon at 2mg, 2-3 times a day. It is best to consult your veterinarian before using these medications. It often takes 14 days of using these to see if they are helping
- CHINESE HERBS: ZEMAPHYTE is a combination of 10 different Chinese herbs. It has been shown to be effective in scientific studies in decreasing the severity of the itching. It has been helpful for eczema in people. The dose is 1drop/lb of body weight twice daily.
- BIOFLAVANIODS: These are compounds found in the pigment of fruits and vegetables. One found in apples, QUERCITIN, has been shown to be effective in reducing itchiness in people: the dose is 25mg/10 lbs of body weight twice daily.
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