What is an allergy?
Just like humans, dogs, cats and horses can be allergic. The immunological mechanisms underlying allergy in dogs, cats and horses are essentially the same as in humans. Allergy is a genetically predisposed condition of hypersensitivity to substances which are common and harmless to most animals. The hypersensitivity is caused by a dysfunction in the pet’s immune system. The substances that cause allergy – allergens – include pollens, dust mites, molds, dander, insects, fibers and foods.
Exposure to the allergens, by physical contact, inhalation or ingestion, causes the body’s immune system to over-react and produce antibodies to fight off the invading allergens. The over-reaction generates an inflammatory response in the skin and subsequently cause itching, scratching and redness (atopic dermatitis). Pruritus is an essential feature of allergy – its diagnosis requires a history of itching. Cutaneous lesions such as erythema, excoriations and self-induced alopecia also reflect the severity of the disease. Respiratory symptoms (allergic rhinitis, asthma), gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, gastritis) and ocular symptoms (conjunctivitis) may also appear. Reduced quality of life – for both pet and owners – is a critical result and has an impact not only on health and wellbeing but also the human-animal bond.
Key facts about allergy:
- Allergy is a life-long disease requiring continuous, hands-on management
- The recommended choice for treating allergy is immunotherapy, a custom-made, natural treatment which is safe, effective and prescribed by veterinarians across the globe. The therapy is available in shots and drops
- All patients suffering from allergy have occasional flare-ups which may require a visit to the veterinarian