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A pet who is suffering from excessive itching, redness of the skin, secondary skin infection, or repeated instances of ear infection may be allergic to an ingredient in his food. Rather than taking a wait and see approach to skin irritation, a veterinary visit is recommended in order to investigate the cause. The top allergens found in dog foods are commonly beef, soy, chicken, wheat, egg, dairy, and lamb. A dog who has a lamb allergy will need to undergo an elimination diet in order to identify this protein as the culprit.
Canines of any age can develop allergies. However, studies show that one-third of all dogs who develop a food allergy are under the age of one year. In addition, an older dog who is experiencing skin redness and other symptoms of non-seasonal pruritus should be examined for food allergies. The diagnostic process for determining an allergy to lamb can be a lengthy one; patience will be necessary.
When a canine has a food allergy, it is thought to be a reaction to the food, immunologically based. The allergens in foods, such as lamb, are labeled as glycoproteins that bring on an allergic response in the pets who have developed a sensitivity to them.
Symptoms of lamb allergies in dogs can be subtle for a long period of time before the signs point to an immunologically based problem. Many of the signs of allergies that will be seen in dogs can imitate other common illnesses. Do not delay in contacting your veterinarian if your pet is showing signs of extreme scratching and licking; if there is an underlying disease course or allergy, your pet will appreciate the relief provided by a diagnosis.
There is not a specific breed, age, or sex of dog prone to allergy development. However, breeds that are thought to have a predisposition to allergies are:
The diagnostic process for determining a food allergy may be lengthy and could take up to several weeks or a few months. To begin, the veterinary team will initiate a full health evaluation, starting with a history of your pet’s recent illnesses, travel history, activity level, typical diet, and toileting habits. If there have been any significant changes in your pet’s behavior, it will be helpful to the veterinary team if you are able to provide details. How long you have been noticing the frequent bowel movements, itching of the skin, and general unwellness are important factors to point out to the veterinary team. It is always a good idea to bring along product information such as type of food your pet eats, and how much per day. The length of time that you have been feeding your dog his current food is relevant to the diagnosis, too.
The veterinarian may suggest a complete blood count, serum chemistry analysis, electrolyte panel, urinalysis, and evaluation of a stool sample in order to verify if there is an underlying illness in place. If your pet has pruritus (extremely itchy, inflamed skin), the veterinarian may order a skin scraping and examine it under the microscope for mites, fungus, or bacteria.
Often, dogs will have ear infections and gastrointestinal distresses that accompany an allergy. Because of these likely possibilities, the veterinarian will check your pet’s oral mucosa, ears, and skin to analyze the presence of these conditions. If your pet is experiencing a multitude of allergy related symptoms, the veterinarian may recommend additional testing in case of infection or inflammatory issues in the intestine.
The veterinary team will give you detailed instructions on how to successfully do an elimination trial. An elimination trial will mean removing the suspected allergen or allergens from the diet for as long as three months. Many dog food producers offer several food options that can be recommended by your veterinarian. She may have hypoallergenic products in her clinic that you can try. Some veterinarians may suggest a very basic home cooked diet that can be easily prepared in batches.
You will need to eliminate any dog food containing lamb during the trial. All members of your family must be aware of the need to eliminate all sources of lamb from your dog’s menu. Studies show many dogs will have improvement in their skin and overall health condition after four to six weeks on an elimination diet. However, elimination trials may be continued, at the discretion of the veterinary team, for a period of at least eight to twelve weeks. An elimination trial means all food fed to your canine companion must adhere strictly to the guidelines. This will include dog biscuits and treats. In some cases, medications and supplements will have to be stopped for the period of the trial as well. When your dog’s health seems to be returning to normal, the lamb will be slowly reintroduced to determine if this is the allergen. You and your veterinarian may discuss as well the possibility of not revisiting the idea of a lamb based diet, if the consensus is that the lamb can be replaced by another protein.
In addition to removing the lamb, conditions like skin irritation or gastrointestinal inflammation will be addressed through the administration of medications either during the trial or after it is finished, based on what your veterinarian feels is best.
Once the allergen is determined, the prognosis should be positive. There are instances when a skin condition may take a few months to clear up if it was particularly serious or if lesions were present. Caution on your part to read all ingredients when purchasing food items for your pet will be essential from now on. In today’s pet food market, food ingredients are typically listed very clearly on the label. If you have a doubt as to whether a food item is suitable for your dog, do not take the chance in giving it to him. If you see any new developments or changes in your pet’s day to day behavior, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for a follow-up appointment.
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Could Ruby be allergic to Burns lamb meal and brown rice? I have fed her this for 8 years. She developed Addisons 5 years ago, but this is managed with Zycortal injections every 8 weeks and Prednisolone every other day.
Nov. 18, 2017
A dog may develop an allergy to a food ingredient that they have had every day of their life; if you are suspecting a food allergy it would be wise to move across to a restricted ingredient diet to look out for any improvement, if there is an improvement you should reintroduce the ingredients one by one until the offending ingredient is found. Allergy testing may be quicker but may also be unrewarding. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Nov. 18, 2017
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