BACKGROUND INFORMATION ALLERGIC REACTIONS DOGS AND CATS

An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to certain substances in ones environment. These substances can enter the body through the skin, lungs and digestive system.

Hypersensitivity builds up over time. It is possible that your pet has been in contact with these substances for years, before having an allergic reaction to them. On the other hand, a short period of contact (a few weeks) can be sufficient to cause an allergic reaction.

When the immune system is functioning as it should, it does not react to these substances, because they are not harmful to the body. A weakened or disturbed immune system responds violently to these relatively innocent substances, this is what we call an allergic reaction.

Most common problems caused by an allergic reaction are:

  • Skin problems (often itchy)
  • Respiratory problems

Once your pet becomes overly sensitive towards a certain substance, only small amounts of it will cause an allergic reaction. An allergy does not disappear on its own and therefore treatment is necessary.

Common substances that can cause an allergic reaction when the immune system is not working properly are:

  • Grass pollen
  • Milk
  • Tree pollen
  • Chocolate
  • Sudden cold
  • Eggs
  • Fertilizers
  • Chicken
  • Cleaning products
  • Shellfish
  • Dust mites
  • Nuts
  • Flea bites
  • Wheat
  • Antibiotics
  • Corn
  • Flowers
  • Peanuts
  • Plants
  • Horse meat
  • Pet skin flakes
  • Human skin flakes
  • Soya beans
  • Allergies are not gender- or breed related. First symptoms appear to occur at a young age. Studies show that a possible faulty development of the immune system during youth can be a cause. A genetic component is definitely present in humans and dogs, cats need further research on this matter.