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Dermatitis, a condition that causes itching, inflammation, and redness, is one of the most common symptoms of allergy in dogs. It is usually the first sign of an allergic reaction to any type of allergen, but reported most often in food. The symptoms and severity of the dermatitis vary depending on the food and the amount eaten, as well as the overall health of your dog. Similar to people, the skin is the largest organ in your dog’s body and can be up to 25% of their body weight. Also like humans, there are seven layers of skin, which are called the subcutaneous muscles and fat, appendageal system, dermis, basement membrane zone, and epidermis. It is your dog’s skin that protects the body from the outside world, so it is usually the first to show signs of a problem. In the case of Bil-Jac allergies in dogs, the first sign may be vomiting rather than itching, and it is best to observe your dog the first few times you feed them a new food. Even if your dog really seems to like the food, the body may not agree, and can quickly lead to anaphylaxis and death if not treated immediately. So, if your dog seems to be having trouble breathing (rapid breathing, coughing, vomiting), you need to see a veterinary professional right away.
Bil-Jac is a premium dog food that was started in 1947, by Bill and Jack Kelly, who began by selling frozen fresh dog food. Although Bil-Jac has many types of quality food and treats for dogs, the majority of them have chicken and corn, which are two of the most common allergens in dog food. If your dog has an allergic reaction to Bil-Jac products, it usually starts with itching all over the body, watery eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea, but some dogs may develop an allergy to Bil-Jac that can lead to a life-threatening emergency called anaphylaxis. This is a condition caused by the histamines your dog’s body releases after being exposed to a food they are already sensitive to. The blood vessels and smooth muscles are attacked, leading to organ failure and death due to asphyxiation (suffocation) within just a few minutes of exposure. The signs of anaphylaxis are shallow and rapid breathing swelling of the face, pale mucous membranes gasping for breath diarrhea, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, scratching, gagging, seizure, and death. Thankfully, in most instances of food allergies, the symptoms are much less severe and include rubbing at the face and ears, hives, and itching.
Symptoms of Bil-Jac allergy may vary, but the most common are:
Bil-Jac, like many foods on the market, has several foods in it that are common allergens and some of them are:
Determining whether your dog has an allergy or is just intolerant of Bil-Jac food with certain ingredients can be tricky, but the main thing to know is that an allergic reaction usually happens after your dog has eaten the food more than once. Allergy affects the immune system and is usually triggered after your dog has eaten food with certain Bil-Jac ingredients before because it is the previous exposure that produces the allergic reaction. On the other hand, Bil-Jac intolerance affects the digestive system and will happen the first time (and every time) your dog eats the food with certain Bil-Jac ingredients in it because the body cannot tolerate that ingredient in any form.
Although it may be difficult for you to diagnose an allergy, it is usually a straightforward procedure for your veterinary professional. However, the veterinarian will first have to rule out other possible illnesses and injuries to be sure of the diagnosis. A physical examination will be done, checking your dog’s overall body, skin, and coat condition, reflexes, breath sounds, pulse, body weight, blood pressure, body temperature, and a visual examination of your dog’s ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Laboratory tests, such as complete blood count,, blood chemistry panel, glucose levels, urinalysis, and fecal examination will be done to rule out any underlying disease or illness.
The most effective way to determine the allergen is to use the elimination diet by taking away all types of dog foods and treats and then reintroducing them one at a time. Each food should be tried for three months to watch for symptoms to return. The process of a food trial is a slow one; patience is needed. Your veterinarian will be able to instruct you on which foods are the best to feed your pet during the trial.
The veterinarian will prescribe a topical ointment for the hives and itching and may give your dog immunotherapy if the rash is severe. It must be noted that skin conditions can take some time to clear, especially if the symptoms are severe or if the suspected allergen is difficult to determine. Avoiding the ingredient in the food or treat that your dog is allergic to is the most reliable and effective treatment. Because the limitations on allowed ingredients will be very specific, all family members must be told of the strict adherence required when an elimination trial is taking place.
Recovery is excellent if you are able to determine the ingredient in Bil-Jac food that is causing the reaction. By not feeding your dog any food with certain ingredients that may be contained in this brand of food, for example soy, wheat or yeast, you are actually treating them. Be sure to keep your veterinarian informed of any changes and do not hesitate to call the clinic for advice of you are not certain whether a particular food is suitable for your pet.
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