What are Own Fur Allergies?
We have all heard of the medical abnormalities where a person can be allergic to the sun or water, but not many dogs seem to have these problems. However, one thing dogs may be allergic to: themselves. It is practically unheard of, but some people believe a dog can be allergic to his own fur. Typically, it turns out the dog is allergic to something in his fur and not the fur itself. Allergy symptoms, including skin inflammation poor hair coat, develop and secondary infections can follow if the condition is not treated. Once your dog is properly diagnosed, treatment can begin and your dog will be on the road to a full recovery.
Dogs, just like humans have allergies. While almost unheard of, a dog may possibly be allergic to his own fur, but more likely, he is allergic to something in his fur. If you suspect your dog is suffering from allergies, discuss it with your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Own Fur Allergies in Dogs
Depending on what your dog is allergic to, symptoms may manifest in different ways. Allergy symptoms to his own fur may include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Poor hair coat
- Poor skin conditions
- Skin inflammation
- Loss of fur
- Hot spots
- Itchy skin
- Dry, flaky skin
- Obsessive licking/chewing of feet
- Inflamed, red paw pads
If your dog is allergic to his own fur, it would be considered a type of autoimmune disorder. Usually though, your dog is not allergic to his own fur, but what is on or in his fur. Your dog can pick things up inside your home and outside which can cause him to develop allergy symptoms; some are seasonal, some are year round.
Causes of Own Fur Allergies in Dogs
When your dog goes outside, he may pick up allergens from the environment that cause him to develop allergy like symptoms. While they are naked to the human eye, these allergens could be causing havoc to your dog’s system. Dog’s can even be allergic to other animals and human dander. Since this does not get diagnosed very frequently, not many people know about it and think the dog is allergic to something else.
Diagnosis of Own Fur Allergies in Dogs
The veterinarian will take note of all your dog’s symptoms. If your dog’s skin is irritated, the veterinarian may take a skin scraping to check for external parasites, bacteria, and yeast. If your dog has watery eyes, the veterinarian may perform fluorescein staining to check for a scratch on the eye that could possibly cause the watering.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning and to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of liver or kidney function.
When it comes to allergy testing in dogs, there are a few ways to come up with a diagnosis. With contact or inhaled allergies, you can 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.
Treatment of Own Fur Allergies in Dogs
Once your dog is successfully diagnosed, a treatment can be put into place. In the most severe cases, there is the option of allergy shots or a serum that are put under your dog’s tongue to help with his allergies. This is expensive, but for many owners it is worth the cost since it is the only way their dog gets relief.
Some veterinarians will prescribe a medication to help with the itching your dog may be suffering from. The medication can help to relieve your pet of his symptoms, but the allergen must be dealt with concurrently in order to keep the skin inflammation at bay.
If your dog is experiencing any type of skin irritation, the veterinarian may wash your dog with a mild shampoo to relieve the itching and remove possible allergens from his fur. Medicinal ointment or cream may be applied to any areas of inflammation to help heal it quicker. Depending on the symptoms your dog is experiencing, additional medications and therapies may be administered according to his needs.
Recovery of Own Fur Allergies in Dogs
Once your dog is successfully diagnosed with an allergy, he will be easier to treat. Without knowing the cause of the symptoms, it is impossible to know what to keep him away from or how to help him. Once you know the allergen, you can begin to successfully treat your dog. The recovery process can be very time consuming and discouraging, but once you find the source, it will be worth the effort. Your dog should not suffer any long term side effects other than possible secondary skin infections. If these do develop, your veterinarian can treat these as well.
Own Fur Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog has been chewing at his feet & coughing for the past few mths. off & on. Chewing has got more frequent in past few wks. Coughing is heard more at night when he goes to sleep...like a dry hacking. What can this be from?
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