allergies in dogs and cats: treatment& medicationWhat medications and treatments are actually available when dogs or cats suffer from allergies? What must be considered during the therapy? And are there also home remedies that can be used for allergies?
Here we present a number of different medications, remedies and treatments – and explain what else you should know about allergy treatment!
Please note, however, that this is not a complete list – there are many different approaches and new ones are being added all the time. That is why we have focused on the most important or. The most frequently used treatments for allergies are limited.
Basics of treatment: what you should know! Allergy is not equal to allergy -. There are different treatment options depending on the type of allergy. Therefore, it is very important not only to treat the symptoms, but also to to find out from which allergy a dog respectively. a cat suffers (and if necessary. to which substances exactly an animal reacts).
To understand how important this is, one should always be aware that allergy i.d.R. a lifelong disease is – it is better to find out right away what the animal is suffering from, than to try to alleviate the symptoms with medication for years – at some point this can lead to severe allergic reactions Side effects come.
Recommendation: Our expert interview on the subject of allergies
Moreover: only if you know what a dog/cat is allergic to, you can treat the Avoid allergens in the future!
How to find out what allergy a dog is suffering from, we have here summarized for you (but very similar is also true for cats).
Ideally, one manages to remove the problematic allergens from the dog or cat. to keep away from the cat. Such allergen avoidance is the best "treatment. Especially in animals with flea saliva or food allergy, the disease can often be controlled so well that no further medication necessary are!
So dogs and cats can be treated with Flea allergy simply treated regularly with a flea prophylaxis product to prevent the symptoms. symptoms, on the other hand, by changing the. Avoidance of the problematic feed get under control.
Admittedly, in dogs and cats that react to pollen or house dust mites (sog. Environmental allergy/atopic dermatitis), an allergen avoidance is clearly more difficult. However, there are also ways to reduce the amount of allergens (z.B. by regular vacuuming/washing of textiles such as carpets, curtains and pet blankets, use of special anti-allergic dog/cat bedding).
causal treatment of the allergy
With a Environmental allergy a causal treatment of the allergy is also possible, i.e. a treatment in which not only the symptoms are suppressed, but the allergy is directly "tackled at the root.
For this purpose a so called. desensitization (also called hyposensitization or allergen immunotherapy) is performed. This is very gently and has no side effects in most dogs and cats. Unfortunately, however, it does not work equally well for every animal. In best case need dogs resp. However, cats under desensitization no further medication.
That is why we recommend desensitization for every animal with environmental allergy should definitely be considered! You can find more information about desensitization here.
Infection of the skin with bacteria and yeasts
In very many dogs (not quite as common in cats), skin infections with bacteria and yeast fungi occur due to the allergy (z.B. with sog. malassezia). The consequence can be skin inflammations as well as ear or paw infections its.
The problem with bacteria and yeast fungi is that they can cause even to partly severe symptoms can lead to z.B. to strong itching, inflammations and in the worst case even to blood poisoning (sepsis).
Therefore it is very important to treat the skin (and ears) of allergic dogs and cats check regularly for bacteria and yeasts and existing Treat infections! For diagnosis the veterinarian can easily take samples from the skin in the practice (so-called. cytological examination). For this purpose it can be z.B. a small glass plate – a sog. Slide – press on the skin. He can then stain the sample obtained in this way and examine it directly under the microscope for bacteria, yeast fungi and existing defense cells. This examination is very fast. Does not hurt at all.
Interestingly enough, the body of dogs and cats has a certain tolerance to itch-triggering factors. Only when enough of them come together, the animal scratches itself.
Let us ame that a dog or cat has a environmental allergy, but in addition Flea saliva allergy and additional infections with bacteria (s. Figure). Only in the sum these three illnesses lead to itchiness. If the flea saliva allergy and the infections are eliminated, the itching is reduced below the threshold – and the animal no longer scratches.
So it is very important, all factors for itching to get them under control and to treat them, even if they do not seem to be the main problem. For this reason a proper, flea prophylaxis all year round be part of the treatment for any allergic animal – even if you think it has an environmental allergy. The same applies, of course, to the treatment of infections with bacteria and yeast fungi.
There is no such thing as "the" ideal treatment
Unfortunately, there is no treatment regimen that fits every allergic animal. Instead, for each dog and cat individually be looked at, which measures and medications make sense.
In addition, it i.d.R. is not done with one measure or treatment. For an optimal result should always be combination of different treatments and medicines should be chosen – so the positive effects can complement each other and the dosages of the individual medications can be reduced. This reduces the risk of side effects.
It is also often the case that the Treatment plan of an animal occasionally adjusted must be. For example, mild medications may be sufficient for a dog/cat during "normal" chronic disease, but it may be necessary to administer cortisone for a period of time during an acute allergy flare.
Specialists are worth their money!
We can't stress it enough: sometimes a veterinarian who specializes in dermatology is really worth his weight in gold! Especially with complicated cases or if at the treatment nothing works, it is worth to go to a veterinarian specialized in dermatology. After all, you do not go to your family doctor with skin diseases, do you?? Types of specialists there are. Where to find the nearest.
Tip: Symptom diary
It is not always easy to judge how well (v.a. "mild") treatments work on their own animal.
Therefore it can make sense to Itch/symptom diary to lead: To do this, assess the itch once a day on a Scale from 0 to 10 (resp. 5). A 0 means that your animal does not scratch/nibble/lick itself more than its peers – i.e. does not show any itching. A 10 (resp. 5) represents the worst itch you can imagine (your dog/cat itches and scratches all the time – even at night – and even interrupts eating/playing/walking to scratch itself).
Note you this value and write also other special features in addition – z.B. how often and how much of what medication you have given, whether you have shampooed your animal or treated it for fleas, and – if it suffers from a food allergy – whether it has eaten anything "illicit".
In this way, you and your veterinarian can easily understand whether certain allergy treatments have an effect on your four-legged friend.
Alternatively, you could also use the digital health diary from Rosadog use. There you can record your pet's allergy problems as well as changes in food, medication, weight, etc. enter.
Home remedies and "gentle" treatments for allergies
There are some drugs and treatments that have almost no side effects and are therefore definitely considered to be supportive treatment should be considered. Unfortunately their Effect i.d.R. not strong enough, around the allergy symptoms to control alone (except in very mild cases). However, they can help alleviate symptoms and decrease the dose of stronger medications – thereby decreasing the risk of side effects with these remedies.
essential fatty acids
Of essential fatty acids or. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids you must have heard before. They are "essential" because they cannot be produced by the body itself and must be supplied from the outside. Examples of essential fatty acids are DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid). Especially for allergic dogs and cats they are useful, because with them the skin barrier disturbed is. By administration of essential fatty acids this can be proven be improved, so that ideally there is not only an improvement in coat quality, but also an alleviation of allergic symptoms.
However, the effect is not comparable to that of "strong" drugs and is rather mild. It also takes for up to 2 months, until you see an effect. On the other hand essential fatty acids have however Very few side effects (in case of oral administration, there may be z.B. occasionally come to mild diarrhea and vomiting), which is why you can definitely give it a try! Bonus effect: They are additionally useful for heart and joint diseases.
How to give essential fatty acids?
There are three options, essential fatty acids:
1) by administration of special feeds enriched with essential fatty acids
2) by adding the fatty acids to the normal feed (oil, special preparations or capsules)
3) by administration of special preparations directly on the skin (e.g.B. Allerderm® Spot On or Dermoscent® Essential 6 spot-on).
Which of these three options works best is currently unclear. But there doesn't seem to be much difference, so you can choose what is easiest for you. A Combination several of these possibilities seem to be against no additional positive effect to have.
How much essential fatty acids should be given?
At Dogs a simple and inexpensive option is the administration of cold-pressed Fish oil*, Linseed oil*, safflower oil* or evening primrose oil* Through the food. Dogs receive for it once daily a tablespoon linseed oil or thistle oil per 10 kilograms of body weight and/or. 1 ml evening primrose oil per 10 kg body weight or 50 mg fish oil per kilogram body weight. Of course, you can also divide the total dose over several meals.
At Cats vegetable oils unfortunately do not work so well, which is why here fish oil* the best choice is. Cats also receive 50 mg of fish oil per kilogram of body weight per day (also possible spread over several meals).
For both dogs and cats, start with a small amount of oil to and increase the dose over several days to give the body time to get used to the extra fat. Reduce the dose again if diarrhea or vomiting occurs. Please also note Probably have to reduce food quantity a little bit, so that your animal does not gain weight.
For dogs with pancreas problems (pancreatitis) or with a tendency to such should better do not add oil to the feed is done, since fat is suspected to cause acute Triggering episodes of illness to be able to!
You wouldn't think that something as simple as washing with a shampoo could help, but it actually is quite effective! Admittedly, for some dogs and probably almost all cats it is then not so easy and maybe not the best option, but if your pet has no problem with being showered, shampooing is really a good idea!
A study could show that shampooing (1 time per week; in the study Allermyl®- shampoo was used) reduces the Itching improved by half in a quarter of allergic dogs! This is probably due v.a. from washing "harmful" substances, such as allergens and bacteria, from the skin and soothing the skin.
How should you shampoo your pet?
For an optimal effect some points must be considered:
– There are different types of shampoos, z.B. grooming, antibacterial or dandruff-, sebum- and crust-dissolving (sog. sebolytic) shampoos. Which type is most suitable depends on the individual case – and may also change in the course of treatment. Ideally, you should choose the right shampoo together with your veterinarian. After cytological evaluation of the skin from. In any case, however, a non-irritating animal shampoo should be used.
– If you notice that your dog/cat is getting more sensitive to the shampoo after shampooing more itchy and scratchy, you should talk to your vet. Possibly the chosen shampoo is not ideally suited after all or the intervals between treatments have to be increased.
– When shampooing it can happen that the skin dries out. To counteract this, it may be useful to apply a Care product to be applied to the skin (z.B. essential fatty acids, s.o., or care products, s.u.).
– So that the shampoo can work well and the skin dries out as little as possible, you should stick to the "10-10-10 rule" keep: that is, the coat should be completely wet for 10 minutes (v.a. Shampoo should act for 10 minutes. then be washed out again for 10 minutes. Admittedly: this is tedious. Especially in the summer, however, during the application time, the dog can z.B. also lie in the garden. Because it is easy to underestimate the times, it is ideally advisable to use a watch when shampooing.
– When shampooing Medicines against fleas and ticks, which on the skin applied (Spot Ons like Frontline®, Exspot®, Advocate®, etc).), from the skin washed off. As a result, they have a shortened duration of action. So if you want to wash your dog/cat regularly, you should talk to your vet about alternative means of parasite prophylaxis (eg.B. tablets).
As mentioned earlier Skin barrier disturbed in allergic dogs and cats. Certain grooming products can irritate the skin soothe, moisturize and with important provide nutrients – and so the presumably strengthen the skin barrier. This can help to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the dose of stronger medications.
There are now quite a few grooming products for dogs and cats, z.B. in Foam, lotion or spray form. They are applied directly to the skin. V.a. after washing or. shampooing they can help to moisturize the skin again. Not only hay fever sufferers can be helped by antihistamines – allergic dogs can also be helped. Cats can benefit from these medications! While their effect cannot be compared to that of z.B. cortisone, but in return they have significantly fewer side effects (so it can be used v.a. come to fatigue).
Unfortunately not every antihistamine works with every dog resp. for each cat. Therefore, there is often nothing left but to try different antihistamines (often over 2 weeks each) until one is found that works and is well tolerated, i.e. does not cause fatigue. This is worthwhile, however, because because antihistamines have so few side effects, they can be if necessary. also lifelong be given (admittedly, unfortunately, you may not find an antihistamine that works for some animals).
Suitable for allergic dogs and cats is z.B. Cetirizine, which must be given 1-2 times a day. Cetirizine is available as tablets, drops and juice.
However, it should be noted that there are may take some time, until antihistamines are effective (i.d.R. up to 2 weeks). Therefore, they are not suitable for acute allergy attacks. However, you can long-term preventive be given.
Preparations against bacteria and yeast fungi
In case of secondary skin infections with bacteria, it is in very many cases it is not necessary to give an antibiotic right away. Often it is enough to treat the infected and inflamed skin with antibacterial preparations to treat. These also fight the infection, but resistance is much less common than with antibiotics.
A typical active ingredient is z.B. Chlorhexidine, but also medicinal honey has antibacterial properties. Please note that in cats do not use disinfectants with iodine should be used (unless they are specifically approved for cats), as iodine can be toxic to cats!
There is a whole range of different preparations, z.B. antibacterial foams, wipes, baths, shampoos, ointments and ear cleaners. And also for infections with yeast fungi (z.B. Formulations available. Depending on the affected skin area. Willingness of the dog/cat to cooperate, a suitable preparation can thus be chosen for treatment (z.B. Depending on the affected skin area and the dog's/cat's willingness to cooperate, a suitable preparation can thus be selected for treatment (z.B. Wipes for infections in skin folds).
However, these preparations should be only used if dogs/cats also have actually suffer from a skin infection (resp. otherwise dry out the skin. Can also irritate. Ideally, therefore, beforehand should be cytological examination of the skin can occur.
Stronger medications against allergy symptoms
Unfortunately, most drugs in this category have a drawback: they work by suppressing the suppress the immune system (immunosuppression). This can have various consequences.
On the one hand, dogs and cats are then more susceptible to infections (z.B. the skin, the urinary tract, the respiratory tract). Therefore, animals treated with these drugs over a long period of time should also have urine should be checked regularly for bacterial infection. Dogs and cats that receive these medications show signs of bacterial cystitis (bact. Bladder infection in dogs or. in cats) often do not have the typical symptoms, so that the owner does not even notice the cystitis. However, because complications can occur if treatment is not given (e.g.B. If the infection rises in the kidneys), one should control the urine regularly for bacteria as a precaution.
On the other hand, the immune system also plays a great role in the fight against degenerated cells. If it is suppressed, they can no longer perform this task. In dogs and cats treated with immunosuppressive drugs for a long period of time, therefore increases the risk of cancer.
Before using medication, which suppresses the Weaken the immune system, should be avoided Skin of the dog/cat should also be checked for Infections with bacteria or yeasts examined become. If infections are present, they should in any case be treated before or. be treated at the same time. Because because the drugs weaken the immune system, it can otherwise come to an aggravation of the skin inflammation.
cortisone& Co (glucocorticoids)
Oral administration (tablets)
Cortisone preparations (z.B. those with prednisolone, methylprednisolone or prednisone) are the "Classic" among the drugs used for allergies. They suppress the immune system and thus act i.d.R. very good and also fast against itching and skin inflammations. V.a. in case of acute allergy attacks. Strong itching they are therefore very suitable.a. They are therefore very suitable for acute allergy attacks and severe itching. However, long-term administration should be carefully weighed, because side effects can be severe in some cases.
"Classic" side effects are z.B. frequent peeing and increased drinking (polyuria/polydipsia), increased appetite (polyphagia), weight gain, and skin thinning. It can also lead to the development of a Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) may occur. Since cortisone preparations weaken the immune system, it can also more easily come to infections come (s. Note above).
For this reason cortisone preparations should always be used only as short as necessary are used. If a long-term administration cannot be avoided, one should try the lowest dose which the symptoms of the dog/cat are acceptable. In addition, one should supportive medication/treatment use (s.o. cortisone "save. Choose a lower dose.
If it can be avoided, dogs and cats should also avoid no long-acting cortisone injections get. If side effects occur, it is impossible to discontinue the medication – according to the motto: what's in, is in.
If your dog/cat has received for a long time (longer than a few days) cortisone preparations, you should check them for do not stop abruptly in any case! Otherwise it can lead to life-threatening side effects come!
Cortisone is a vital hormone that is produced in the body in the adrenal glands. If cortisone is administered externally over a longer period of time, the adrenal glands reduce cortisone production. If the external administration is then suddenly discontinued, the adrenal glands cannot quickly produce the necessary amount of. As a result, the body lacks cortisone, which can have life-threatening consequences (sog. Addison crisis).
For this reason, the administration of cortisone must be continued via several days to weeks (or even months) "excreted", d.h. the dose is reduced very slowly. Over what time to taper cortisone depends on the dose given and the duration of previous treatment. your veterinarian will discuss with you how to proceed with your animal.
Local application of cortisone preparations
It is not always necessary to give cortisone in tablet form. V.a. if the itching is limited to certain areas of the skin, these can also be treated locally – z.B. with ointments or sprays containing cortisone. Thereby reduces the risk of severe side effects.
V.a. a spray containing a special cortisone (hydrocortisone aceponate; z.B. in Cortavance®-spray), is very well suited. In this form, the cortisone is not absorbed into the body, but is metabolized directly in the skin. As a result, the side effects described above (except skin thinning) occur only very rarely.
Apoquel® is a tablet which is similar to the good and fast treatment of allergic itching and skin inflammation should act like cortisone preparations.
The most common side effects are gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting. However, the "classic" cortisone side effects and the development of diabetes mellitus do not seem to occur. However, because Apoquel also suppresses the immune system, it can also be Infections (z.B. of the skin or urinary tract) occur (s. Note above).
Therefore, with Apoquel, too, an attempt should be made to lowest possible dose and to find these by supportive treatments (s.o.) to be further reduced.
Apoquel is (so far) only for dogs approved.
Also cyclosporine resp. Ciclosporin (z.B. in Atopica®) works similarly well as the two last-mentioned drugs, however it takes some time, until the drug takes effect (often approx. 4 weeks). For this reason, it is only of limited use in acute allergy attacks.
For this, cyclosporine usually well tolerated to be. As Side effect transient gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common. Rarely, a "proliferation" of the gums (benign growth) and/or the formation of warts can also occur. However, both go away again when the drug is discontinued. For this reason, cyclosporine is good for the Long-term treatment suitable. The only catch: the tablets are unfortunately not entirely favorable and there is also suppression of the immune system (s. note above).
With cyclosporine, too, an attempt should therefore be made to lowest dosage to be found and that support the animal with fatty acids, shampoo, etc. to treat.
At Cytopoint it is a matter of fairly new drug, which reduces the symptoms of allergic dogs to fights the disease in a completely new way. This is because it is administered artificially produced antibodies, which blocks a certain messenger substance in the dogs' bodies: Interleukin-31 (IL-31). This messenger substance plays a decisive role in the development of itching. By blocking it, the effect is similar Improvement of allergic symptoms. To a general suppression of the immune system (and all its consequences), on the other hand, seems to have not to come.
Cytopoint will once a month from the vet injected under the skin. The Effect begins i.d.R. already after a few hours and seems to be similarly good to be like that of cyclosporine.
At seems to occur in some dogs Cytopoint however unfortunately not to work. If a dog's symptoms do not improve after two injections, he unfortunately seems to belong to this group and other treatment options must be considered.
Cytopoint seems to very well tolerated only in very rare cases a hypersensitivity reaction occurs (anaphylaxis, facial edema, wheals). Other side effects are not known so far.
It seems therefore very good also for long-term treatment to be suitable for allergic dogs. Unfortunately the drug exists (so far) not for cats.
You can read more about the drug Cytopoint (advantages, disadvantages, effect) here: Cytopoint® – the miracle drug against itching?