Dog Has Allergies

Archived Q&A and Reviews

My dog is allergic to dust mites

Nov 2002

We just found out that our 11-month-old dog (Australian cattle dog and lab mix) is allergic to dust mites, various molds and outdoor pollens (basically everything!). The vet dermatologist is prescribing weekly antigen injections, which could continue for the rest of her life. He also said that we might not see any improvements in her condition for at least 10 months thus she could continue to be symptomatic (itching, excessive licking, bald patches, lesions). Has anyone had success treating dog allergies with homeopathy and/or acupuncture? Please recommend a vet or non-vet, preferably in the East Bay, who provides this sort of treatment to dogs. Thanks. Valerie

You don't really pose a question in your posting, but perhaps you can get some ideas from our situation. My Sheltie mix was diagnosed with allergies when he was a puppy. It manifested itself in his licking his paws until they scabbed. We had him tested, and he was allergic to at least 10 things, including dust mites and human dander (!). Our vet also prescribed antigen shots, which we initially gave every other day for a month before moving into a routine of once every 20 days. He also prescribed Benadryl (two capsules three times a day) and Prednisone/Prednisolone as needed. I was most worried about the Pred, because it's a steroid and prolonged use has all sorts of consequences including the possibility of liver failure.

Well, Elwood is now the ripe old age of 11-1/2 and still going strong. He hates the shots, but he tolerates them because I pump him with goodies right after I give him each shot. He still has lots of days when he itches quite a bit (usually when the pollen levels are high), and that's when I give him a weeklong course of Pred. If we hadn't done anything, I firmly believe the poor dog would have chewed himself to the bone. I understand that there are some foods that will help alleviate some of the itching, but darn it all if Elwood isn't allergic to pretty much every food on the planet: chicken, lamb and rice in the main.

If you're wary of your vet's advice, by all means get a second and third opinion. There are vets who specialize in allergies. But I would encourage you to do what you can to treat your dog's malady, or you both will be miserable. Gwynne

One of our four dogs has skin allergies and takes medication to control her itching. We've been cautioned by our vet to be conservative in giving it to her. (This would be my natural inclination, anyway.)

I'm always cautious if an treatment must be given ''for the rest of the dogs life.'' That statement would be a red flag to me to seek additional advice from another vet before proceeding. Good luck to you. Dorothy

My young Australian Shepherd had allergies (I don't know to what) which caused a continual rash on her belly and frequent scratching. My regular vet prescribed Benadryl to control the symptoms, but we had to keep increasing the dose and it still wasn't helping much. Then I went to a vet who specializes in skin problems and would treat either traditionally or homeopathically. Her name is Dr. Stephanie Chalmers at (707) 538-4643 in Santa Rosa. I had to make only one visit up there, so don't let the distance keep you from calling her.

There were 2 components to the treatment: homeopathic remedies and change of diet. I had to try 2 or 3 different remedies and I'm not sure if they helped at all. I'm inclined to think that it was the diet change that made a difference. Dr. Chalmers gave me recipes that were copied from a book called, ''Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats'' by Richard H Pitcairn, D.V.M. The main ingredients used were raw ground meat and cooked grains, with lots of nutritional supplements added. My dog recovered completely from her allergies within a few months. I continued to keep her on the diet for a while, maybe another year, but then gradually changed her over to commercial dog food with no recurrence of allergies. I think the youth of the dog makes them more vulnerable to these kinds of problems. Also, the homeopaths think that vaccinations contribute to the immune-system problems. I am not well-educated about immunization issues in dogs or humans, but I have avoided giving my dog vaccinations except for rabies, which is required by law, I believe. Nancy

Hi. I used to have an Australian Cattle Dog. I now have an Irish Terrier. They both had really bad allergies out here. I take my dog to a holistic vet in Oakland , Jenny Taylor, DVM . 510-530- 1373. She is wonderful. It had helped my dogs alleriges more than anything else. she gets accupuncture and herbs and switched to a food that helped out. also b12 shots. It's not a quick fix like drugs , it takes a few visits, but it is a long term solution without all the toxic drugs. The accupuncture esp helps really high energy dogs like Australian Cattle Dogs. She also has someone there that does chiropractic on the animals. ( i take my dog to my chiropractor). it's a little expensive for the first visit. around $200. but it helps so much and it winds up costing less in the long run. good luck! Julie

I would contact Creature Comfort formerly known as the Dimond Pet Hospital. It is located on MacArthur Blvd near Fruitvale Ave just off 580. All three doctors are great. another vet