Prairie State Veterinary Clinic

100 Ravinia Place
Orland Park, IL 60462


Allergy Worksheet                                                "The Itch" --- "The Misery"

The old guy and his new resuce dog,

 NB: Consider looking at  Very interesting for those interested in understanding allergies.

Allergy Handout

The problem could be Food Allergy, Inhaled Allergy, Contact Allergy or a combination of the three.

Contact:   Eliminate contact (i.e. the new wool rug, carpet shampoo, nylon collar, floor rinse such as  mop-n-glo, etc.).

Food: Elimination trial of 4 to 6 weeks on a novel diet never before eaten by the pet. Feel free to call us for recommendations for a couple of commercially available foods that can be used for the food trial.

Environmental:   Dust and dust mite, weed and tree pollens, molds, other pets. Most allergies in dogs are environmental. We now know that allergens are actually adsorbed through the skin (not inhaled as we were taught), thus the new "Outside-Inside" theory as the dermatologists call it.

  1. Allergy testing and Treatment -
    • Skin testing with a dermatologist or the blood test at your local vet; or consider using the Universal (RESPIT) vaccine without testing. We offer the RESPIT system which uses a universal vaccine designed for specific regions of the country which gives similar results to those dogs that were tested. The new allergy vaccine can be given orally. (RESPIT stands for Regionally Specific Immunotherapy).
  2. Palliative treatments -
    • Frequent (once or twice weekly) rinses or shampooings. This removes allergens from the hair cost and is very beneficial.
    • Room air filters, hepa filters - Beneficial. Put in room where pet sleeps.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids - a must-do! Blocks prostaglandin cascade. (fish oil).
    • Antihistamines: Usually a poor (20%) response. Hydroxyzine, Doxepin, Benadryl.
    • Silver Bullet: Prednisone. Cheap.  Excellent to reduce or stop the itching ("the misery"). Causes increased drinking, urination, and appetite in the first few days of use but less so if used properly and given every other day. Though not desirable, many dogs stay on pred for long periods.
    • Cyclosporine.  A good replacement for prednisone. Many pets can go off pred completely after starting cyclosporine. Cost has declined in recent years.
    • Allerderm or Dermascent spot-ons. Tightens up the skin pores against allergens. Also help to soften the haircoat. Applied once weekly for 4 weeks then once every 4 weeks (according to the label you can decrease to once monthly. I personally apply a tube to Molly once weekly and her haircoat is great).  These skin barrier enhancers keep allergens from being able to penetrate the skin (due to the phytospingosine).
    • APOQUEL. This new drug by Pfizer will probably replace prednisolone in many cases. It's a pill given once daily that turns off the itch "switch".  No side effects like prednisone. In our practice we find it to be slowly replacing prednisone and will do so more when the price comes down. Along Apoguel we now have CADI injections that can turn off the ITCH-SWITCH for up to 8 weeks.
    • CYTOPOINT - a new injection by Pfizer Company that stops itching for 4 - 8 weeks.