This was a hard winter for dogs and their owners. For months it seemed like we were living on the frozen tundra. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Soon enough the days will be sunny and our pet dogs can frolic and romp to their heart’s content. And with good weather comes allergies. Just like us dogs can be allergic to grasses, pollens and molds. But unlike us dog allergies usually manifest as scratching, licking and chewing.
In addition to the old standbys (antihistamines, medicated shampoos, fish oil) we have some new exciting options for treating allergies. The first one is sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT. Immunotherapy for allergies involves blood testing and sometimes skin testing to determine what the patient is allergic to. The results are used to formulate a customized treatment given to the patient to desensitize the immune system leading to less itching. Immunotherapy has been around for a long time but up until recently the only way to administer treatment was via injections. The good news is that there now exists an oral form of immuntherapy that involves sublingual treatment or drops under the tongue. For more information on sublingual immuntherapy check out http://www.heska.com/Products/ALLERCEPT/Allercept-Drops.aspx
The second new therapy consists of an oral medication called Apoquel. Apoquel is unique in that it specifically works on chemical messengers in the body responsible for itching and inflammation. These messengers are called cytokines. We are excited about this medication as it has minimal side effects and works very well. For more information check out https://online.zoetis.com/US/EN/Products/Pages/apoqueldvm/pdfs/Pet_Owner_Brochure.pdf