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That new goose down pillow you just bought may be comfortable for you, but it may be making your dog miserable. Some dogs are allergic to goose down and owners don’t know it until they unknowingly bring it into their home. Goose down can lead to a contact allergy or an inhalant allergy in your dog. Either way, it needs to be addressed. Symptoms are usually mild resulting in skin irritation, itching, or possibly a mild respiratory-related issue. If goose down is the cause, removing it from your dog’s environment should solve the issue.
Goose down can be found in many bedding materials, coats, or even some dog toys. While it may make for a luxurious item, it can be causing your dog to suffer allergy symptoms. If your dog develops any of these symptoms from an item containing goose down in your home, you should take him to see his veterinarian.
Symptoms of goose down allergies in dogs may manifest in different ways. Symptoms of allergies may include
Dogs with allergies to goose down may have a contact allergy or inhalant allergy because of it. In contact allergies, where the goose down comes into contact with your dog, that is where the skin irritation and itching will most likely occur. As for an inhalant allergy, it usually affects the respiratory and related systems most. This is where the runny nose, eyes and coughing is likely to be seen.
The allergic response to goose down may develop quickly or may develop over a period of years. If your dog has an allergic response to it, it is his body’s way of mistakenly protecting itself from harm. 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. Your dog’s body produces an immune response to the goose down feathers resulting in irritating symptoms.
When you first arrive at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will start with a physical examination. This will allow her to take note of all your dog’s symptoms. If your dog is experiencing any coughing or wheezing, she may want to take a radiograph to get an internal look of the lungs. This will help rule out pneumonia, bronchitis, or any other respiratory related illness. If your dog’s skin is irritated, the veterinarian may take a skin scraping to check for external parasites or bacterial overgrowth. If your dog has watery eyes, the veterinarian may perform fluorescein staining to check for a scratch on the eye that might possibly cause the watering.
Kidney and liver function will be verified with a urinalysis. Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status.
With contact or inhaled allergies, you can also perform allergy tests. One test is called intradermal testing. This involves injecting the skin with the suspected allergen and waiting to see if an allergic response occurs. There is another allergy test that involves taking a blood sample and sending it off to a special lab for them to test it. With this test, they can determine what objects your dog is allergic to and how severe. While this test sounds the easiest, it can be expensive.
If you discover goose down is the cause of your dog’s symptoms, you need to remove it from his environment. This may mean his new bed needs to be given to someone else, or that he cannot sleep on your new comforter with you. If the allergic response is extremely severe, you may have to remove any goose down items from your home entirely.
The veterinarian may prescribe a medication to help with the itching your dog may be suffering from. This medication will help for a while, but f you do not remove the source of his itching, you will have to continue to give the topical or oral prescription, and possibly continuously increase the dose as time goes on. This will cause your dog’s immune system to be suppressed and increase his risk of a more serious illness.
If you get a new item with goose down and notice your dog developing allergy-like symptoms, discuss it with your veterinarian. It may be a coincidence or it may be the cause of his symptoms. If your dog is allergic to goose down but you continue to leave the goose down item in your dog’s environment, his immune system will continue to overreact. This weakens it since it is trying to fight something that isn’t actually hurting him, leaving him vulnerable. However, once the goose down items have been removed from your dog’s environment, prognosis for a full recovery is good. His immune system will get back to full strength and will keep him healthy. It may be an inconvenience to you that you have to get rid of some nice things, it will be better for your dog.
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