Allergy is one of the most common diseases today. This is a painful condition caused by an inadequate response of the immune system to certain substances. To protect against viruses, germs and other harmful factors, the body produces antibodies (immunoglobulins), which destroy or neutralize the "enemy". The control process is accompanied by a side effect - an inflammatory reaction that can manifest itself with symptoms such as lacrimation, sneezing, coughing, skin rashes, and swelling.
If the immune system malfunctions, she considers completely harmless elements harmful. So, dust, wool, plant pollen, food, cosmetics and medicines, and even sun rays can serve as allergens.
In people with a hypersensitive immune system, an allergy to the dog is quite possible. But not the animal itself, but on special proteins (proteins), which are produced by the skin glands and are contained in its saliva, urine, hair and skin particles. Since, according to statistics, about half the world's population contains dogs, the treatment and prevention of allergies in these animals are very relevant.
Signs of an Allergy
Manifestations of allergies are purely individual. Most often, the first reaction to an allergen is insignificant or absent: the immune system first encounters a foreign element, and therefore antibodies are produced in small quantities. With repeated interaction, protective immunoglobulins are produced very actively, and then external signs begin to manifest more clearly.
It is important to know! How quickly an allergy develops depends on the individual characteristics of the body. Some notice the first symptoms within a few minutes after contact with an allergen substance; in others, they appear after a few hours or even days.
Signs of a dog allergy include:
- runny nose, sneezing, constant nasal congestion;
- itching and swelling of the eyelids, tearing, conjunctivitis;
- cough, sore throat;
- pruritus, urticaria.
In severe allergies, swelling of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx, shortness of breath, hoarse breathing, a feeling of pressure in the ears, and otitis media can develop. In young children, gastrointestinal colic and diarrhea can occur. In childhood, a long-running allergy often causes bronchial asthma. Cases are described when, against the background of hypersensitivity to a certain substance, anaphylactic shock was observed (an extremely strong immediate reaction that poses a threat to life) or Quincke's edema (severe deep edema of subcutaneous tissue).
It is necessary to determine the causative agent of allergies as accurately as possible, since a preliminary diagnosis, based on the assertion that the dog was its culprit, may be erroneous. The time for the development of allergic symptoms and the appearance of an animal in the house can simply coincide, or the body did not respond at all to the proteins that are produced in the skin of the pet, but to the pollen of plants or mold spores that the dog brings with it from outings.
For differential diagnosis of the pathogen are carried out:
- In vivo test - a skin test, when a small scratch is made on the skin area in the area of the brush where a synthetic analogue of the allergen is applied. If redness of the skin or rash is observed at this place, the reaction is considered positive.
- A blood test involving in vitro tests, in laboratory conditions - in the patient's blood serum.
- Radio Allergy Sorbent Test (RAST). This is a blood test that allows you to determine in the body the level of antibodies produced by the immune system - allergy-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE).
For information: the RAST test is considered safer, but less sensitive than skin tests, and can give a false positive result if the patient has had allergies in the past. This is due to the fact that after an allergic reaction in the blood there remain “on duty” immunoglobulins E.
To eliminate allergic phenomena, you must first stop contact with the allergen, in this case the protein that the dog produces. This is a categorical requirement, without which it is impossible to cure an allergy.
The clinical manifestations of the body’s hyperreaction - skin itching, rashes, swelling, cough, runny nose, tearing - are removed with the help of drugs:
- Antihistamines. They block the action of substances that cause allergic symptoms. Such drugs include diphenhydramine, Claritin, Tavegil, loratadine.
- Anticongestants (drugs that relieve swelling). These are mainly osmotic diuretics (diuretics), which remove excess fluid from the tissues. Usually they are used in combination with antihistamines. With allergic intoxication, Fexofenadine (Allegra) and Sudafed are the most popular.
- Combination drugs, which include antihistamines and decongestants. The representative of this group is Zirtek, Benadril Allergy, Tylenol Allergy.
- Corticosteroids - hormonal drugs that effectively relieve the external manifestations of allergies and reduce inflammation. They are used for severe allergies. Representatives - Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone, Dexamethasone.
How to avoid the development of allergies
The best option to get rid of an allergy to a dog is to remove the animal from the house, for example, give it in good hands. But what if you really do not want to part with a pet? If you adhere to certain preventive measures, you often manage to get by with less radical methods.
To reduce the risk of developing an allergic reaction to the dog:
- Treat animal hair with special antiallergenic agents.
- Get rid of long-pile carpets, heavy bedspreads and curtains in the house - dust with allergens accumulates in them, and it is difficult to remove it. Spot them with short-nap carpets that are easy to vacuum and wash, bedspreads and curtains made from fabrics that are easy to wash.
- Furniture is recommended to be covered with fabric covers, they should be washed 2-3 times a month.
- Vacuum every day and wash the dog’s bedding once a week to remove animal hair and flakes.
- For the same purpose, do wet cleaning in the house as often as possible. It is advisable that this obligation is assumed by someone from a family member who is not exposed to allergies.
- If you can, get a dry air filter - it can catch up to 70% of allergens from the air.
- To remove dandruff and loose hair, bathe your dog. With clean water it can be washed every week, with shampoo - twice a month, otherwise you can cause overdrying of the skin.
- When walking the dog, try to avoid contact with other animals whenever possible. Allergists say that allergies to other people's dogs are usually more severe, and after close “communication” other people's allergens will surely remain on your pet’s coat.
Important! Ideally, the house should have a room where the dog is forbidden to enter. There you can retire to avoid unnecessary communication with the pet if you feel an allergy attack. The best option is if the bedroom becomes such a restricted area.
And finally, another tip for pet lovers. There are dog breeds called hypoallergenic, their body produces few proteins that cause an increased reaction of the immune system. Usually these are small dogs, their hair is short, and if long, then silky, they rarely fade. Since a large number of allergens are found in saliva, the best option for an allergy sufferer is a dog whose muzzle does not have bryley. Chihuahua, affenpincher, dachshund, fox terrier, Bichon Frize, poodle, Maltese lap dog correspond to such requirements.