Sorry human, I'm allergic to you!

(Photo:  Cooper, a labrador retriever, shown here waiting to participate as ring bearer at his owners' wedding in November 2014)

Cooper is a handsome Labrador retriever that lives with his owners Jenny and Ted in Southern California, but Cooper wasn’t in great shape a while back. The owners reported that when Cooper was less than five months old, he was scratching himself to the point of bleeding and over the course of five years, multiple trips to the family veterinarian were made in attempts to control his itching. Jenny and Ted even went through the extraordinary steps to remove possible offending plants from the yard and put in hardwood floors in place of carpet to help Cooper. “Cooper had skin infections over the years from scratching himself until he bled, with chunks of hair falling out, rashes, welts and open lesions,” says Jenny.
A co-worker of Jenny’s recommended Animal Dermatology Clinic and Cooper’s first visit was July 2014 with Dr. Eva Ganz in the Marina del Rey, CA clinic. Based on Cooper’s history, Dr. Ganz recommended an allergy test, and beginning allergen specific immunotherapy.  (continued on Page 2)

The Hazards of Summer

Friendly reminders for pet safety
Summer allows us to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, but when away from the comfort and general safety of our homes, pets are exposed to situations that could impact their health and safety.
Radiator coolant: Use of car air conditioning this summer may cause coolant to overflow in driveways. Dogs are not deterred by the taste of coolant and it will cause serious health problems if ingested.
Yard chemicals: Herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides help make yards attractive and comfortable. Watch where pets go after applying these products and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Hot pavement: If the surface you are walking on is too hot for your bare feet, it’s probably uncomfortable for your dog, too. Limit excessive walks in high heat on pavement.
Dehydration: Ensure that pets are provided with ample fresh water especially in high temperature. Just like people, dogs may suffer from heat stroke and certain types and breeds are more susceptible: short muzzled, thick coated, very young and very old dogs are most at risk. Do not leave pets unattended in a car, temperatures rise quickly in a closed car.

Cooper and imunotherapy

(continued from Page 1)

(Photos:  Pet owner Ted shown here administering the antigen injecton to Cooper.  Baths and topical treatment used in conjuction with immunotherapy have made Cooper comfortable and happy.)

     Cooper was found to be allergic to a number of items and high on the list? Human dander! So in addition to other allergens (see column, right) Cooper was allergic to people. His custom antigens were formulated to include the other high reaction allergens of certain weeds, trees, grasses, house dust mites and insects.
     The success rate for dogs undergoing immunotherapy is about 70%. “We saw improvement rather quickly! He received his first antigen injection on August 11, 2014. We got married on November 2, 2014 and Cooper was our ring bearer. His hair was perfect and he made a great dog model and ring bearer.”
     There were no problems in giving or receiving the injections; Ted gives Cooper his injection every two weeks now followed by a Milk Bone treat as a reward (Cooper, not Ted). A year later, Cooper is no longer in discomfort and his coat has been restored.

The Intradermal Allergy Test

(Photo:  Cooper, July 2015 one year after beginning immunotherapy.)
     The Southern California intradermal allergy test offered at Animal Dermatology Clinic is a panel of 81 allergens which includes molds, weeds, trees, grasses, insects, and certain animal danders.
     All clinic locations have a poster identifying the allergens in their geographical area. For instance, citrus pollen is tested in So. Calif. but it is not normally found in great numbers in Indiana, therefore is is not included in that area’s skin test. Note that even though you may not see these allergens in your neighborhood, pollens can become air borne and travel for miles to irritate an allergic pet.
     After the patient is injected with each of the allergens, the doctor evaluates the reactions on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 indicating the highest level of allergic reaction.
     The doctor evaluates the skin test reactions within 15 minutes. The patient can then start the allergy injections the next day.
Cooper’s test results showed high reaction to:
Human dander
Malassezia (mold)
Grasses: Bermuda, Orchard, Rye
Trees: Box elder, Olive, Elm
Weeds: Lamb’s quarter, Russian thistle, Dock
Dust mite
     His antigen formula contains the very same things that makes him itchy, but by slowly over time introducing the allergen into his body, his immune system begins to develop tolerance to the allergen thus preventing a release of inflammatory mediators which creates the itch sensation. No itch, no scratching.
(Photos of Cooper courtesy of Jenette and Ted Bloemendaal)

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