What are Kangaroo Meat Allergies?
An allergy to food is the result of the body’s immune system’s attempt to defend itself against an amino acid that it perceives as a threat. An allergic reaction doesn’t happen the first time your dog is exposed to the allergen, but rather after repeated exposures. Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but allergies to kangaroo meat are very rare. More often, kangaroo meat is associated with allergies because it is often employed as a novel protein suitable for an allergic canine or an elimination diet.
Although allergies to kangaroo meat can develop, they are very rare. Kangaroo is, however, an attractive alternative meat for dogs with allergies.
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Symptoms of Kangaroo Meat Allergies in Dogs
Although the majority of dogs do not acquire food allergies until they are older than three years old, food allergies in canines can develop at any age. Allergies that are unaddressed in young dogs may lead to poor growth and development. Skin reactions are often clustered around the face and groin, as well as being found under the front legs and between the toes.
- Bald patches
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic gas
- Chronically inflamed feet
- Face rubbing
- Head shaking
- Obsessive licking
- Paw biting
- Poor puppy or adolescent growth
- Skin infections
- Skin rashes
There are four varieties of kangaroo that are used for their meat:
Common wallaroo or euro - The common wallaroo, also known as the Eastern wallaroo, are a type of rock kangaroo that is stocky and powerfully built. They can be distinguished from the other varieties of kangaroo by their bare, black snout.
Eastern gray kangaroo - The Eastern gray kangaroo stands about 4-5 feet tall and has a much thicker coat than other kangaroo species.
Red kangaroo - This is the world’s largest marsupial, with males reaching nearly 7 feet tall. They get their name from their reddish pelts.
Western gray kangaroo - Almost as large as the red kangaroo, the male Western gray kangaroo stands around 6 feet tall. The female of the species is about half the size of the male.
Causes of Kangaroo Meat Allergies in Dogs
Allergies are caused by an abnormally robust defensive response by the immune system to a protein that it perceives as an invasive substance. Approximately 60-70% of our immune system cells are estimated to reside in the digestive system. During the digestive process, our foods are broken down into their smallest parts, known as amino acids. The amino acids are then absorbed by specialized white blood cells called enterocytes for transport into the bloodstream. When proteins are not fully broken down during digestion, the enterocytes see them as intruders rather than nutrients and attack them by releasing histamine. Over time, the response of these cells becomes more aggressive, and symptoms apparent in your family pet intensify.
Kangaroo meat has proteins that are very different than the proteins in other meats. Because of this difference, it is unlikely to become an allergen, although it is possible. It is more often used as a replacement meat for dogs with allergies to beef, chicken, or lamb than a cause of allergies itself.
Diagnosis of Kangaroo Meat Allergies in Dogs
If your dog develops an allergy to food, the symptoms exhibited by your dog due to the allergic reaction will generally prompt your veterinarian to collect a skin sample from any affected areas for a microscopic evaluation of the skin cells. This is known as cutaneous cytology. Cutaneous cytology is a tool used to verify problems with similar symptoms, such as mites, yeast infections, or other diseases. The results garnered from these tests may lead your dog’s doctor to suspect a food allergy and an elimination diet will be initiated. An elimination diet can be used both to diagnose the existence of an allergy, and quite often deduces which ingredient is causing the reaction.
An elimination diet involves changing your dog's food to either a reduced ingredient commercial food or a diet of bland human food. Novel ingredients are any foods or food groups you’re your pet has not been exposed to, and are usually recommended for the replacement food. Allergies to kangaroo meat are exceptionally rare which makes it an ideal protein source for an elimination diet.
Treatment of Kangaroo Meat Allergies in Dogs
It can take several weeks for an elimination diet to reveal an allergen and the novel protein, often kangaroo, will be the only protein source allowed to the patient until the skin conditions clear up. Antihistamines to calm the itching may be recommended by your veterinarian as well as corticosteroids to reduce swelling. Use of these treatments may make it more difficult to determine if the symptoms clear because of the change of diet or because of the application of the medications, so many veterinarians prefer to complete the elimination diet before treating the symptoms.
Allergies to foods are not curable, but symptoms generally disappear once the allergen is removed. Any exposure to the protein that initially caused the reaction can also cause a relapse. If the primary protein you have chosen is kangaroo meat, treats should also be kangaroo based, and it is best to use unflavored toys during this process.
Recovery of Kangaroo Meat Allergies in Dogs
Once the ingredient has been identified, the initial course of action is the future avoidance of this particular protein. Secondary skin infections are common with allergies in canines, and either an oral or topical antibiotic may be prescribed if this occurs. Certain supplements to support the immune system, such as probiotics and Omega-3 oils, may be recommended as well after an elimination diet is completed. These enhancements to your pet’s diet may assist your canine’s body in handling any accidental exposure to allergens and to prevent the cultivation of new allergies.