Allergy shots???

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Postby PoodleMaMaKat » February 25th, 2010, 9:42 pm

My parent’s 3 year old poodle has suffered from allergies for most of his life. After trying multiple food changes we finally opted for a blood test. He has just been diagnosed with grass allergies. How do you avoid grass in a dog???

He gets to the point in the summer where he itches his skin raw and then gets infections. He isn’t itching as bad currently, but we did just have 3 feet of snow 2 weeks ago. We've had success using amitriptyline to control his ear infections, which are thought to be allergy related but he still itches uncontrollably. The vet has consulted an allergist… somewhere out of state and there has been some talk of allergy shots. Does anyone have experience using medicine to control allergies vs allergy shots?
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Postby hugapitbull » February 25th, 2010, 10:20 pm

We did the shots for several months before Trouble refused to take them anymore. One day she decided she'd had enough and after bending the second needle, I agreed. It was going to be much worse to have a broken needle surgically removed than to just stop. We saw some relief with the first batch of serum, the two following batches never were good, never got the dosage regulated or working for her. Trouble had grass allergy, trees, dust, mites, smoke, wool, and too many others to list. She was miserable, we were miserable. She would lick her feet until they were raw, oozing, and bleeding.

Just as we (and she) were at our wits end, we found a vet who recommended trying Atopica. It was the one thing that finally made a marked difference for her. It was the first time ever we didn't have to give her antihistamines daily. The Atopica isn't an inexpensive medication, but as time goes on, the dosage is decreased. I would try it if nothing else has worked.

My sincere best wishes. There are several of us here who have fought the allergy battle, I'm sure some of the others will jump in. Allergies are no fun.
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Postby Malli » February 26th, 2010, 1:58 am

I've heard good and bad.

My own vet does not have a ton of confidence in the shot.

I've heard amazing things about Atopica
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Postby plebayo » February 28th, 2010, 3:45 pm

My friend has a dog who is allergic to almost everything. Her dog had numbers into the 3-4k range on the allergy panel. I guess really the panel isn't that reliable [apparently if you run it twice you'll get different numbers]. However my friend does the shots and her dog's skin returned to normal and she doesn't itch nearly as much. Also my friend's dog does fine for the injections, we have 3-4 clients who do allergy shots for their dogs, they have no problem giving them and on occasion bring their dogs in for us to give them [if they come in for grooms sometimes] and I have never had an issue with a dog not accepting in injection.

The issue with controlling it with medication is if you have to use steroids prolonged steroid use can cause other problems down the line.
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Postby Malli » February 28th, 2010, 4:19 pm

But, Atopica isn't a steroid?! :|

My own dog takes Pred every day, but the dose is quite low, so this will make him less likely to have issues as well.
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Postby plebayo » February 28th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Malli wrote:But, Atopica isn't a steroid?! :|

My own dog takes Pred every day, but the dose is quite low, so this will make him less likely to have issues as well.


I never said Atopica is a steroid. I said "if you have to use steroids". Often times for massive skin issues steroids and anti-yeast meds are prescribed.

I've had animals on pred, there's nothing wrong with low dose pred - but there are still dangers using steroids. I should also add as a person who has had to take prednisone the side effects really suck and we've had several patients who can't take it because it made the dogs act weird/have personality changes/weird behavior.

I'm not against steroids you just have to be careful. My cat gets a depo-medrol injection once a year, we've been doing it since he was 12 weeks. However we just had a cat come in for one depo injection and he became diabetic a week later. Even though it doesn't happen often, it happens. There are risks wtih steroids, I'm just putting it out there.
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Postby Malli » February 28th, 2010, 7:29 pm

And I wasn't disagreeing that there are side effects and risks - I'm the first to remind people of that. I honestly thought you thought Atopica was a steroid.
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Postby PoodleMaMaKat » February 28th, 2010, 9:56 pm

I'm not fond of using steroids, even in my human patients for an extended time. Yes, they are very effective but come with many side effects. He is already a bit chunky and very young. I would like to try other things before going to steroids to control the allergies. Even at low doses there are severe long term side effects. He's only 3 and will most likely have allergies all his life.

My other concern is Tye is a bit (ok a lot) fear aggressive so I'm not sure how he'd do with the injections. He does ok at the vet (which totally shocks me) but I don't know how he'll do with my mom holding him/giving them to him. Unfortunately I live just far enough away it isn't possible for me to go help her every week. I have a history of severe allergies and I know how obnoxious they can be. I was on allergy shots until about 5 years ago. I do think they helped me but they took awhile to see the effects. I can actually walk into a house with cats now!!!

He has an appointment with the vet this week to discuss options. His allergy panel lit up to every grass they tested for. I at least could stay away from cats! But grass in a dog? The thing I don't understand is he doesn't lick his feet like I'd expect with a grass allergy. He chews on his hips and lower back until they are raw and then become infected! I think Tye is the only one in the area glad we had 3 feet of snow!!
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » March 4th, 2010, 10:41 pm

Sid has horrific environmental allergies. Her highest being storage mites (found in kibble) followed by dust mites and then every type of grass, tree and shrub in our area.
We tried allergy shots for nearly 2 years without significant results (some improvement, but not much). Zymox is the only thing that helps her ears. She cannot eat kibble at all, so she eats raw food and canned. The lifesaver for us was Atopica. She takes it two days on, one day off.
So, Atopica combined with her diet is the best thing we've found. I do know people who have had success with the allergen shots, though. Some have seen improvement for a while and then regression afterwards.
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