Combination Treatments for Allergies

Combination Treatments for Allergies
By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, TX

Animal Hospital McKinney TXAfter 22 years of treating pets in Michigan at our animal hospital in McKinney, TX, I’ve learned that allergies are far more severe here in McKinney.  There are several reasons for this, and they add up to more itching, more scratching, and more difficulty in providing relief for some patients.

Many of the pet owners that join our practice every day are from northern states.  It’s not unusual for them to relate tales of their pets scratching worse since moving, or of suffering allergy symptoms they’d never had before.  It is clear that these animals (and their people) are being exposed to new allergens and in greater numbers than they were ever exposed to.

For pets afflicted with reactions to environmental allergens – tree, grass, and weed pollens, house and dust mites, and mold spores for example – the worst seasons of the year are springtime and late autumn.  Blooming of many plants in the spring months floods the environment with thousands of types of pollens; for many, this is the worst time of year. Pollen counts decrease after this initial bloom phase, and many allergic individuals find relief as their immune systems are exposed to fewer allergic compounds.  Exceptions are those living in homes where pollens persist; examples are those allergic to dust or grain mites, plants in the home, or foods.

Autumn brings another spike in allergy cases due in large part to ragweed sensitivities, but this can be a terrible time of year for many.  Those unfortunate patients that react to an array of substances have symptoms throughout the year when they’re exposed to some type of allergen all the time.  These are the worst cases because these patients never find relief from the itch, skin infections, and constant irritation.

There is no cure for allergies in animals, just as people suffering with hay fever or asthma can only get relief with medications or treatments which cannot make the allergy go away.  Therapies are aimed at providing relief during times of the most severe itch, treating skin infections from bacteria or yeast, diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism when it’s a complicating factor, and using hyposensitizing immune therapies to decrease the body’s sensitivity to allergy-causing substances.

A complicating factor in these environmental allergies can be cross-reactions between allergens because many proteins from different plants and foods have similar molecular structures.  Birch pollen, for example, cross-reacts with tree nuts, apple, celery, tomato, and cherry. Ragweed cross-reacts with sunflower, melon, cucumber, and banana; and timothy grass reacts with apple, tomato, corn, paprika, bell pepper, celery and litachi.

At our animal hospital in McKinney, TX, we are finding that animals with the most severe allergies are often best served by testing that identifies inciting allergens both in the environment and foods to which they react.  Once we identify that a patient is allergic to timothy grass, for example, it becomes important to avoid foods that cross-react with that allergen.

It is not uncommon to find that a patient reacts positively to allergy treatment for both environmental AND food allergies. These patients are treated with a combination of modalities that can include hyposensitization by injection or oral serum, restricted diets, antibiotics, thyroid supplements, shampoos and rinses, and medications to counteract allergic reactions during “breakout” periods when exposed to overwhelming quantities of allergens.

Providing relief for allergic individuals is best accomplished when pet owners and veterinarians at our animal hospital in McKinney, TX work together to arrive at the best modalities for a given animal.  This is often a combination of therapies arrived at by appropriate testing and, sometimes, trials to determine the most effective treatments.

Animal Hospital McKinney TX
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
5913 Virginia Parkway
McKinney, Texas 75071

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