Modern Medicine, Old-Fashioned Care

Managing A Pet’s Allergies

Allergies can be a chronic and debilitating condition for pets too. Managing a pet’s allergies with the right action plan can bring a suffering pet much relief. Partner with your veterinarian to identify allergic triggers and choose the best treatment options, including natural therapies.

Excessive licking, scratching, inflamed or infected hot spots, chronic ear infections, nasal discharge and sneezing are symptoms a pet with allergies may experience. Treatment is designed to suppress symptoms but relief is only temporary. Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergies.

An increasing number of pets are experiencing allergies due to triggers like pollen, smoke, food ingredients, or chemicals found in the environment. One theory behind the increase in cases is the role of genetics. Overbreeding or poor breeding habits can result in dogs and cats with a predisposition to allergies and deficiencies in the immune system. There are several dog breeds, including the golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, boxers and beagles, which are more prone to allergies than other breeds.

Does this mean pet owners are simply left to accept the situation, managing a pet’s allergies along with the possible side effects and long-term use of conventional medicines such as steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics? No.

While conventional medicines do provide temporary relief by reducing itching, inflammation, and eliminating infection, those options do not address the underlying causes of severe reactions. Veterinarians who take an integrative medical approach to personalized pet care combine conventional and alternative veterinary medicine to treat illness and disease. Proper nutrition and natural therapies, like supplements, herbal remedies and acupuncture, also play an important role in the overall treatment plan.

“Although there is no cure, it’s important to address the underlying problems that cause the symptoms. Proper nutrition is very important in the overall treatment of allergies. By achieving the right balance of protein and carbohydrates in the diet, inflammation throughout the body can be greatly reduced or eliminated to promote a stronger immune system. Diet is of critical importance, not because all allergies are “food allergies” but because the right diet may promote anti-inflammatory states, which may help resolve or prevent allergies from manifesting,” said Dr. David MacDonald of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care is certified in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbal therapy.

A balanced diet with added supplements to support the health of various organs, like the skin and liver, can strengthen the immune system. A healthy body and strong immune system can deal with allergic triggers with a less severe reaction. When balance is achieved, the use of steroids, antihistamines and immunotherapy may either work more efficiently or be limited in use so that treatment is effective and safe.

Conventional drugs are helpful in treating symptoms and secondary infections but sometimes there are unwanted side effects so long-term use may not be an option. Natural therapies are used to reduce toxicity and have minimal side effects.

Regular acupuncture sessions also provide relief to pets suffering from symptoms by promoting the body to heal naturally. Tiny acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin where nerve bundles and blood vessels are located—called acupuncture or energy points—to improve blood circulation, oxygen flow, nerve stimulation, and the release of hormones that help relieve inflammation and pain.

When managing a pet’s allergies, it’s important to partner with your veterinarian to explore treatment options that offer the best outcome for your pet. A comprehensive exam and allergy testing will determine what treatment plan should be followed. Each pet is different so dietary, as well as herbal therapy, recommendations may differ. Pets are not people so consult with your veterinarian about nutrition, supplements and alternative therapies designed specifically for dogs and cats.

Integrative veterinary medicine at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care is a comprehensive approach to wellness and healing where the primary focus is the dog or cat, and conventional and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) is applied for the best treatment outcomes. Alternate or holistic veterinary medicine includes natural, drug-free therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic, laser treatments, food therapy, and herbal remedies. Call Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care today at 215-345-6000 to schedule an Exam & Consultation to help manage your pet’s allergies.