What are Egg White Allergies?
Eggs are a large part of human and dog diets alike. While scientists tell us the egg white is healthier to consume, there are some dogs with an allergy to it. Feeding egg whites alone, without the yolk, can also lead to a biotin deficiency in your dog. This, along with an allergy to it, causes a variety of skin related issues. Diagnosis of an egg white allergy can be a long, discouraging process. However, once it is confirmed as the cause of the symptoms, recovery is straightforward and easy; you just have to remove egg white from his diet. If you think your dog has a food allergy, the sooner you talk to your veterinarian about it, the sooner he will be on the road to recovery.
Eggs are in many food products made for dogs; so common that many dogs develop allergies to them. While not common, your dog may have an allergy specifically to egg whites alone. If you believe your dog is suffering from a food related allergy, discuss it with your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Egg White Allergies in Dogs
Symptoms of Egg White allergies can manifest differently in each individual dog. Symptoms may include:
- Ear infection
- Itching skin
- Skin infection
- Obsessive licking or chewing of feet
- Loss of hair
Vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms more commonly seen with food intolerance, but it can be an allergic symptom as well.
There are multiple brands of eggs out there. There are farm fresh eggs, brown eggs, white eggs, organic eggs, cage free eggs, the list is endless. Many people believe farm fresh eggs, cage free or organic eggs are better since the hen has a more natural diet. While the diet of the hen laying the egg may alter the formation of the egg, the eggs are all basically the same in the end.
Causes of Egg White Allergies in Dogs
If your dog has allergies, it is his body’s way of protecting itself from something it thinks will harm it. While the item in question is actually harmless, the body doesn’t recognize it as such. The body finds it dangerous and mounts a protective response to the threat. Every chicken is different, but the process of egg formation is the same in every one. Since the diet of the chicken may vary, it could potentially cause a rare, but possible, allergic reaction to one type of egg brand but not another.
Diagnosis of Egg White Allergies in Dogs
Unfortunately, there are very few ways to successfully diagnose a food related allergy. The most common method is a dietary trial. In a dietary trial, you have to feed your dog a diet without egg whites. Egg is an ingredient in almost every dog food. However, the amount of egg in dog kibble is not a significant amount. If you cook for your dog, then you know exactly how many egg whites your dog is consuming. You have to feed your dog the egg white-free diet for at least 90 days before you can get a reliable diagnostic. After the 90 days, if resolution of the allergic signs occurs, you then must reintroduce egg whites. If a relapse in allergy symptoms occurs, then you know the source; if symptoms do not return, then it was a source other than the egg whites.
Intradermal skin testing for food allergies may not provide accurate results in every dog. This test can give false positive and false negative results. In a false positive situation, despite the fact the dog is not allergic to the food when ingested, it results in a positive allergic skin response. As for a false negative, some food allergies produce a delayed result of a positive allergic reaction. This causes the veterinarian to believe your dog is not allergic to the allergen since she didn’t see a skin response, but in reality he is allergic to it. Another way the test can result in a false negative would be when the allergic response is localized. For example, if your dog is allergic to an allergen but the symptom only manifests as a runny nose, this means the antibodies to the allergen are located only in the nose. Since the allergens antibodies are localized in the nose and not the entire body, there are no antibodies in the bloodstream to cause a reaction throughout the rest of the body, including the skin.
Bicom testing is another method of determining an egg white allergy in your dog. Bicom testing is also known as bioresonance. This method believes every being and substance in the world emits its own electromagnetic wave. The veterinarian takes a blood sample from your dog and tests different foods and substances to see if it has a ‘good’, ‘neutral’ or ‘bad’ response. If the response is ‘bad’, the item being tested causes your dog’s blood wavelength to become stressed. Stressed blood leads to a stressed body and therefore an allergic reaction. If the response is ‘good’, then the item puts out a wavelength that is compatible with your dog’s blood which means no adverse reactions should occur. If it is ‘neutral’, the item being tested does not put out a wavelength that alters that of your dog. Bicom testing is not commonly seen in veterinary practices because it is considered an ‘alternative’ medicine. Many holistic veterinarians use the Bicom testing with an extremely high success rate, but other veterinarians believe this method does not work.
If you look up Bicom testing, some methods are potentially used to ‘retrain’ the body’s electromagnetic waves to relearn the allergen does not actually pose a threat and should, therefore, stop producing an allergic response. Other veterinary practitioners typically use it to find out if your dog is compatible with the food or not. If it is not good for your dog, then you simply remove that food from his diet and the allergic symptoms should stop. The way you cook the egg white for your dog is the form you bring to test. For example, if you scramble egg whites before you feed it to him, you test them scrambled.
Treatment of Egg White Allergies in Dogs
Some veterinarians will prescribe a medication to help with the itching. This medication will help for a while, but in reality it is only masking the symptom, not curing it. If you do not remove the source of the itching, you will have to continue to give the prescription and possibly continuously increase the dose as time goes on.
If you discover your dog is very sensitive to egg whites and typical dog food doesn’t work for him, you may have to cook for him. The upside of this method is you know exactly what your dog is consuming and how much of it. The downside, you may not have the time or effort needed.
Strict control of your dog’s diet is the best way to combat egg white allergies. By preventing him from ingesting egg whites, his body will not develop the allergy reaction and therefore the allergy symptoms should subside. If you keep it out of his diet, his skin will stop itching, will heal, and any type of chronic issues should disappear for good.
Recovery of Egg White Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is suffering from allergies, the sooner you get him to the veterinarian the better. Suffering from allergies can weaken your dog’s immune system and can lead to more serious issues. The longer you wait to seek veterinary care, the higher the chance of a secondary infection to develop.
Once you confirm your dog is allergic to egg whites, you simply have to remove it from your dog’s diet. Once it is out of his system, all his allergy symptoms should stop. During the recovery process, it may take several months before you notice a big change so it can be very discouraging, but do not give up. You and your dog will both be happier once the constant itching and scratching stop for good.