Pugs and Allergies

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

Good overall health will keep your Pug’s immune system strong and perhaps cut down his or her likelihood of developing allergies. However, allergies probably have a strong genetic component, and many environmental factors are outside of our control. So if your Pug does have allergies, it is not due to anything you should have or should not have done. Maintaining overall health will still help as you manage those allergies.

The signs of allergies may mimic other conditions, so it is important to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian when problems arise. Itchiness is the most common sign of allergies. Other signs of potential allergy problems include skin irritation, rashes, moist dermatitis (“hot spots”) and hair loss. Ear infections, especially recurring ones, may also be an indication of an underlying allergy problem.

Two main classifications of allergies plague our pets: environmental allergies and food aversions. Common environmental allergens include fleas, dust mites, trees, pollens and grasses. Environmental allergens will be more bothersome to pets in some regions than others, so if you move, your pet’s symptoms may worsen or (hopefully) subside.

To diagnose environmental allergies, a serum test or intradermal skin test may be done. Once testing is completed, hypoallergenic shots can be prepared containing small amounts of the offending allergen(s). These are given every few days in slowly increasing increments, with the goal of gradually desensitizing the immune system to the allergens until they are no longer a problem.

The serum and intradermal skin tests that correlate wonderfully to environmental allergens unfortunately have a low rate of coloration for food aversions. The only direct diagnostic test for food aversions is a food trial.

Food aversions are almost exclusively protein-related.  Your veterinarian will recommend a specific diet to be fed exclusively, a novel protein diet (commercial or homemade), or a hydrolyzed protein diet.  Strict adherence will make or break the food trial.  If symptoms of allergies disappear over the course of the trial, the diagnosis is “official” and you may add foods back in one at a time.  If a reaction is seen, that food will need to be avoided in the future.

Sometimes there are only one or two offenders, and sometimes a pet does the best on a very restricted diet. However, dogs don’t usually mind restricted diets, and it is worth whatever diet maneuvers need to be done to keep your pet healthy and comfortable.

Allergies are often treated symptomatically, either exclusively or in conjunction with more direct treatments. Supportive treatment may include anti-histamines, steroids, medicated baths, diet changes, fatty acid supplements, chiropractic and acupuncture. Use all treatments carefully and in full cooperation with your veterinarian.

Our goal when treating any disease is always a complete cure.  However, with allergies, it is more realistic to aim for chronic management and the lowest effective amount of medicine. If our allergic Pug is comfortable and happy, we have succeeded.

Stephanie Alford’s Typhoon

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3 Responses to “Pugs and Allergies”

  1. Alex Allen says:

    acupuncture seems to be a good alternative medicine :,*

  2. Dog food says:

    That dog breed is very cute, i see them plenty lately. I wonder simply how much you can find in my own hometown.

  3. i like acupuncture, it is simple yet effective treatment for minor health problems,”.

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