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5 Suprising Facts About Canine Allergies: Maggie’s Story

Posted 2020-07-21

Achoo! Does your pet roll around? Itch excessively? Lick and chew at their skin? Your pup may be suffering from environmental and seasonal allergies. Any humans who suffer from allergies know it can be a tough time of the year to endure. Allergies can present themselves in a variety of ways and be difficult to diagnose- leaving many pet owners feeling frustrated about why their pup won’t stop clawing and biting at their body! Especially when they are causing wounds, redness, and hair loss. This is often uncomfortable for your precious pooch too.  Here is one pet mom’s experience with how she overcame some of these challenges:

Maggie was suffering from environmental allergies and IBD. The allergies began when she was only 2 years old. At a young age she was tested and diagnosed with environmental allergies to many things in her home town of South Florida. She was put on immunotherapy allergy injections and other prescribed medications, which stabilized her condition until she was about 4. 

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After she was switched to a new allergy drug, she ran into some health scares. Here’s what Maggie’s mom Sharon went through over the course of managing Maggie’s condition:

Maggie unexpectedly got sick one day out of the blue. She had eaten a lot of grass, plants and palm fronds that we were not aware of, then parts of a carpet in the house (which is what made us notice she was sick) and had to have emergency surgery to remove the 1 1/2 pounds of contents that were blocking her stomach and intestines. At that time, a gastroplexy was also done.

Since then, Maggie has had recurring issues with sickness, vomiting, at times diarrhea. She was also treated for helobactor just in case that was the cause of her original sickness that caused her to get ill and eat the plants. To this day I am not sure what made Maggie get sick, just natural IBD or a reaction to the new drug Apoquel, which I question after further research on the drug.

Over the years, an internal medicine veterinarian, was her go to doctor. An endoscopy was performed after Maggie started experiencing frequent episodes of vomiting and pica, some episodes lasting hours. There have been numerous occasions where I had emergency vet visits to get injections to cease the vomiting, her go to Cerenia.

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I contacted NHV at the end of April 2019 when my 7 yr old chocolate lab/95 lbs, Maggie, had to be taken off a prescription corticosteroid, which was for her IBD. She is on numerous medications for her IBD but the corticosteroid is what seemed to help the most. However, it comes with side effects, which started to develop after one year. Maggie was diagnosed with calcinosis cutis, a skin condition. She developed a build up of calcium deposits on her skin, raw spots from scratching and chewing, and lost hair in those areas. Since my concern on stopping the corticosteroid was all-around, with the anti-inflammatory drug helping her gastro issue, as well as her allergy issues, yet continuing it had new conditions that developed which warranted immediate attention.

Dr. Amanda suggested Yucca for its steroidal properties, Plantaeris for the GI tract, Stimmune for the immune system, AlgeEx for food/environmental allergies, Milk Thistle for healthy liver support due to Maggie’s numerous medications, and Ouch Away for her raw spots. Upon my second order, I picked up the All Clear Ointment for specific skin spots that had hair loss and calcium deposits, and for areas that Maggie was chewing on due to skin allergies.
 
Maggie has only been on herbal treatments for only 6 weeks, but I must say her skin condition has improved. I see hair regrowth and the calcinosis cutis deposits have greatly diminished. To be fair, she has discontinued the corticosteroid which would cease the calcinosis condition from continued development and assist with the condition eventually diminishing. She also has bi-weekly medicated baths to assist with skin healing.Our vet did say it could take 4-6 months for her skin and coat to return to normal after ceasing the corticosteroid, but at 6 weeks it is 90% better! Maggie has had a few episodes of IBD vomiting since ceasing the corticosteroid and starting the herbs but nothing that is above the level of IBD episodes Maggie has had while on the corticosteroid. It appears her scratching and chewing have also reduced.

Maggie before…

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and Maggie after!… 

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“I have spent many hours researching canine IBD and have tried several medicinal treatment plans prescribed by the vet, spend thousands of dollars on vet and ER visits, prescription dog foods, spent many hours laying on the kitchen floor with my dog, trying to comfort her as she was going through hours and hours of vomiting episodes, etc. I will continue the NHV herbal options and plan suggested to give it a fair shot, as I do believe it is assisting with Maggie’s healing of calcinosis cutis, IBD issues and environmental allergies. I will definitely report back and update Maggie’s medical status and how herbal remedies are assisting her issues. Thank you Dr. Amanda, Johanna and Melissa for taking the time to help Maggie and me with a plan. I am hopeful for continued success with my Maggie.”
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We are so happy to hear that sweet Maggie will shortly be celebrating her 8th birthday with her mom Sharon, in a lot more comfort. She is on a special diet and her mom does everything she can to make her comfortable, and stay up to date with her veterinary visits, monitoring her symptoms and making adjustments along the way as needed. Thank you Sharon for allowing us to be a part of Maggie’s holistic journey.

5 Suprising Facts about Canine Allergies

Dogs can be allergic to pollen, or a variety of things they may come into contact with out in the yard. The exposure can occur in a variety of ways- the most common sources are pollen, mold spores, mites, and animal dander. 

Environmental allergies and food allergies can cause similar symptoms such as itchiness, hair loss, watery eyes, sneezing, and respiratory issues. 

If you suspect allergies your vet will first need to rule out skin mites, fungal infections and endocrine disease, such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s – other diseases that present similar symptoms. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis. 

They typically occur between the ages of 1 to 3. While all breeds are susceptible to allergies- certain breeds- Retrievers, Terriers, Boxers, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, Shepherds, Beagles and Irish Setters- are more prone.

You can get a specially formulated diet to help manage your dog’s allergies. 

NHV’s very own vet tech Johanna, goes more into depth about seasonal allergies and how to manage them here.


Here are the main supplements Maggie is on to help manage her conditions.

Many pet owners will say the most frustrating problem a dog can have is allergies. Our NHV Pet Experts can help you navigate the complex world of canine allergies.

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