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Allergies are a big problem in summer! When the fur itches and the dog and cat scratch.

Allergies are common in dogs and cats. As in humans, hypersensitivity z. B. against house dust mites, tree, and grass pollen, but also feed, mold or flea bites (flea saliva) cause itching, reddening of the skin, eye inflammation, or breathing difficulties. Itching can occur all over the body or in specific areas. The animals scratch and bite their faces, paws, armpits, groin, or stomach. Licking the itchy spots often results in a brown discoloration of the fur from the saliva. Occasionally, eye discharge, nasal discharge, or backward sneezing is observed. Animals older than 6 months are usually affected. Itching often begins between the ages of 1-3 years.

Diagnosis

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Any therapy must begin with a reliable diagnosis. The identification of the allergy trigger must therefore be given special attention. For this purpose, various blood tests and/or intracutaneous tests are carried out in the clinic after a detailed anamnesis.

Therapy

Once the allergy trigger is known, you will try to avoid it. Especially with antigens that are ingested with food, this can be achieved through special diets. Even inhaled antigens can be partially avoided: a person allergic to mold should not stay in damp rooms, and food and storage mites can be avoided if moist food is used. The concentration of house dust mite antigens can at least be reduced by doing without carpets and by covering pillows and mattresses tightly. Blankets are washed hot or frozen.

Other antigens, e.g. pollen, can hardly be avoided. However, immunotherapy (hyposensitization) can be carried out. The success of the therapy is significantly better for seasonal allergies than for allergies, the symptoms of which occur more or less evenly throughout the year. Immunotherapy is most successful at times when the patient has the least possible or no allergic symptoms. If possible, he should not be exposed to the triggering antigen at the time of immunotherapy.

The aqueous immunotherapy solution is made for each patient
individually manufactured and contains exactly those allergens against which sensitization has been proven in the test. Instead of false antibodies that trigger allergic reactions, the immune system should form normal antibodies by initially administering low and later slowly increasing concentrations. This metabolic change takes time and often does not succeed completely.
The symptoms improve in about 60% of patients
clear. Significantly fewer drugs are needed in these animals to control the allergy. Depending on the antigen, about a third of the patients become symptom-free. However, this is not a complete cure, because the tendency to an excessive allergic metabolic reaction also persists in these patients. They can deteriorate again later in life or acquire an allergy to other substances.

Long-term treatment

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It usually takes 1-2 months for the itching to subside, provided the itching (skin inflammation) effects are under control. If no improvement in symptoms is seen, treatment should still be continued for 4-6 months before a final evaluation is made. Immunotherapy is usually carried out over a period of 2-3 years. Initially, the treatment takes place on an outpatient basis in the clinic, after the animal owner has been introduced to the therapy, he continues it at home.

Immunotherapy is a proven and safe treatment method for allergy sufferers. However, close contact between the treating veterinarian and the pet owner is particularly important. The livestock owner should learn to understand and master the process. Initially, slight allergic reactions such as reddening of the skin and hives are possible after injecting the solution. But even if the therapy is successful, a new antigen, a low-grade flea infestation or a change in diet can be enough to trigger a severe relapse. In the event of any deterioration during or even after the end of the therapy, a discussion with the treating veterinarian is advisable.

If the animal does not respond to the immunotherapy or if such a therapy does not promise much success from the outset, the animal must be given relief in other ways. In return, the excessive immune reaction is suppressed. However, the defense against infection should be impaired as little as possible. Therapy protocols are available for this, in which various immunosuppressants with different durations of action are used. If, for example, the short period of birch pollen flight is to be bridged, a single injection of a depot cortisone can solve the problem without any significant risks or side effects. The longer the time to be bridged or the more severe the skin changes are, the more complicated the therapy becomes. Then there are injection and tablet treatments with treatment breaks, intermittent or temporarily tapering protocols, or the combination with or sole use of other immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, or similar.

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In the medium term, allergies are and will remain serious diseases that are not easy to treat. Nevertheless, there are useful concepts to enable the allergic patient, in close cooperation between pet owner and veterinarian, to live a life with few or no symptoms.

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