Allergies

Allergies are very common among dogs and they are very hard to treat. Some breeds have a genetic tendency to develop allergies, unfortunately the Bulldog is one of those breeds. 

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So, how do you know if your Dog is allergic and what is the best treatment?

The best way to treat a skinallergy, is to first find out what kind of allergy it is, before starting any treatment. Ask your veterinarian for an allergy test. This diagnostic test is an intradermal skin test, similar to the one performed on humans. There are several kinds of allergy test, none of the allergytest (blood or skin testing) is a 100% accurate but in most cases it will help target and treat the allergies better. In general the skintest is proven to be more accurate than the bloodtests but it is also more expensive.

Allergy Testing

A lot of dogs don’t get tested for allergies but do get treatment from the vet with antibiotics, steroids or medicated skinwashes. This will only treat the symptoms and not the cause! The best thing to do is get a full allergytest from the vet, this can be quite expensive but it’s worth it, it will eventually save you money and more important it will save your dog from any misdiagnosis or mistreatment.


Types of Allergies

Environmental and Seasonal Allergies

The most common of all the types of allergies.  This can be anything in the environment in- and outside the house, from grasses, pollens, molds and dust mites to cottons, wool, cleaning materials and so on. But it can also be an allergy to flea or tick medication or an allergy to the flea itself called flea bit dermatitis. Environmental allergies can be caused by inhaling a substance or through skin absorption. If we know what type of environmental allergy it is, we can either remove the object or irritant that causes the allergy, or if that’s not possible, treat the specific allergy and it’s symptoms.

In the case of some airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your dog develop resistance.

If your dog suddenly has an allergic reaction, be sure to check your dog’s environment:

  • Did you use a new type of laundry detergent, softener or cleaning materials?
  • Do you have a new rug or made any other changes in the home?
  • Did you wash your dog recently or gave him flea or tick treatment?
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Food Allergies

The most common Food allergies in Dogs are: grains, soy, corn, potatoes, wheat or a specific kind of meat or fish. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea or vomiting or even breathing difficulties. In most cases a well balanced high quality diet will cure all of the symptoms. However this might mean you will have to change your dog’s diet to fresh meat, home cooked meals or an all natural hypo-allergenic food which can be quite expensive.

Most common Allergy Symptoms

  • Itching and biting
  • Hives and Skinbumps
  • Chronic Earinfections
  • Stinking coat, paws or ears
  • Swollen or Running Eyes
  • Butt twirling
  • Interdigital Cysts (itchy red spots between the toes)
  • Hot Spots (wet and red spots on the skin)
  • Constant licking or Sneezing
  • Hair loss or crusts on the skin
  • Bacterial or yeast skin infections
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Treatments

Antibiotics
The kind of antibiotic medication used to treat your dog will be prescribed by your veterinarian after diagnosing and determining which type of organism is to blameAntihistamines
Such as Benadryl, Zyrtec or Claritincan can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Always contact your vet first.
Steroids
A short term boost which gives the dog temporary relief. Long term usage of steroids may do your dog more harm than good.
Allergy Shots
In the case of some airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections
Diet
In the case of food allergies a well balanced and high quality diet is a must

Prevention

Bathing
Bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best. Beware bathing can also work counterproductive when fighting of certain infections so be sure to consult your vet before bathing a dog with skinproblems/allergies.

Cloting
If your dog has allergies like grass put clothing and/or boots on them when going outside. If your dog won’t walk with boots make sure to clean their paws and bellies after a walk.

Housekeeping
Avoid using any cleaners or parfumes as possible, try natural cleaners on the floor and places they lay or visit often. Only use all natural, hypo allergenic detergents and softers to wash your dog’s bed

Diet
As mentioned before a good diet is essential for a dog with allergies, not only for the ones with a food allergy. A highly nutritious, well balanced meal will support their immune system

Vitamines and Supplements
There are many kinds of dog supplements and vitamines available on the market; in pills, powders, drops, some especially for the skin or coat.

Pro Biotics
Pro Biotics are  micro-organisms that can provide health benefits by adding beneficial bacteria to your dog’s digestive system. You can buy probiotics in pills, supplements, or you can give greek yogurt to your bulldog on a daily basis

Important: Always consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis before starting any treatment. A lot of Bulldogs with skinproblems are treated for allergies and the otherway around, so make sure to get a diagnosis and when in doubt don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. The internet, forums, fellow bulldog buddies can all be of great help, but I can not emphasize this enough, never rely solely on this, always ask for a medical opinion from a veterinarian before starting any treatment. 


Reverse Sneezing

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Reverse sneezing (also called pharyngeal gag reflex, inspiratory paroxysmal respiration or mechanosensitive aspiration reflex) is a phenomenon observed in dogs, particularly in those with brachycephalic skulls. It is a fairly common in dogs. Its exact cause is unknown but may be due to nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus irritation (such as an allergy). With this condition, the dog rapidly pulls air into the nose, whereas in a ‘regular’ sneeze, the air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. The dog makes a snorting sound and seems to be trying to inhale while sneezing.

Is it dangerous?
Although it can be alarming to witness a dog having a reverse sneezing episode, it is not a harmful condition. The dog is completely normal before and after the episode.

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How to recognize Reverse Sneezing
In a regular sneeze, air is pushed out through the nose. In a reverse sneeze, air is pulled rapidly and noisily in through the nose. For some dogs, it’s a more or less normal event. Just as sneezing is a part of life, reverse sneezing is also a part of many dogs’ lives. The sound that accompanies reverse sneezing is kind of a sudden, startling sound that makes many dog owners think their pet is either choking or having an asthma attack.

A dog who is reverse sneezing typically stands still with his elbows spread apart, head extended or back, eyes bulging as he makes this loud snorting sound. The strange stance on top of the strange snorting sound is why many dogs end up getting rushed to the veterinarian or the emergency clinic by their panicked parents. Episodes of reverse sneezing can last from a few seconds to a minute or two. As soon as it passes, the dog breathes perfectly normally once again and behaves as if nothing happened.

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Cause
Reverse sneezing is caused by a spasm of the throat and soft palate. The spasm is triggered by an irritation to the throat, pharynx, or laryngeal area. The most common triggers are excitement, exercise intolerance, a collar that’s too tight, pulling on the leash, an environmental irritant like pollen, perfume, or even a household chemical or cleaner, room sprays, or even a sudden change in temperature. Rarely, there can be a respiratory infection or chronic post-nasal drip that causes the condition. Brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and Bulldogs, with elongated soft palates, occasionally suck the palate into the throat, which can also cause an episode of reverse sneezing.

Diagnose
Even though reverse sneezing is not dangerous to your dog it is important to rule at any other problems that might be causing this. The diagnosis is based on medical history and clinical signs. Try to make a video of the symptoms when going to your veterinarian and pay attention to when the reverse sneezing occurs. If you can figure out what’s triggering your pet’s reverse sneezing episodes, you can work to reduce or resolve the problem. Your veterinarian will rule out other causes of abnormal breathing and snorting, such as an upper respiratory tract infection, collapsing trachea, nasal tumors or polyps, foreign bodies in the nasal passages or mouth, and so forth. Occasionally your veterinarian will perform blood tests, allergy tests or radiographs to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Treatment
Most cases of reverse sneezing require no medical treatment. If your dog experiences a reverse sneezing episode, you may gently stroke the neck and try to calm the pet. Once the dog exhales through the nose, the attack is usually over. In certain cases, your veterinarian may choose to prescribe anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine or decongestant medications to help with your dog’s condition.

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When and why to the veterinarian?
If the reverse sneeze isn’t harmful why or when do I need to see the veterinarian? If your pet’s reverse sneezing becomes a chronic problem or episodes are becoming more frequent or longer in duration, I recommend to make an appointment with your vet to rule out things like a potential foreign body in the respiratory tract, nasal cancers, polyps or tumors, nasal mites, a collapsing trachea, kennel cough, or a respiratory infection.

If your pet is experiencing prolonged episodes of reverse sneezing, bloody or yellow discharge from the nose, or any other accompanying respiratory problems, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Just as dogs sneeze intermittently throughout their lives, most dogs have at least a few reverse sneezing episodes during their lives as well. In the vast majority of cases, the episodes are temporary and intermittent, resolving on their own, and leave the dog with no aftereffects to be concerned about.

 

Some more video information about reverse sneezing

A video example of a Bulldog reverse sneezing

A sneeze on command

Bildertante Sylvia‎photo by Bildertante Sylvia‎

Read on more on Bulldog Health here


Allergies

Skin Allergies are very common among dogs and they are very hard to treat. Some breeds have a genetic tendency to develop allergies, unfortunately the Bulldog is one of those breeds. 

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So, how do you know if your Dog is allergic and what is the best treatment?

The best way to treat a skin allergy, is to first find out what kind of allergy it is, before starting any treatment. Ask your veterinarian for an allergy test. This diagnostic test is an intradermal skin test, similar to the one performed on humans. There are several kinds of allergy test, none of the allergy test (blood or skin testing) is a 100% accurate but in most cases it will help target and treat the allergies better. In general the skin test is proven to be more accurate than the blood tests but it is also more expensive.

Allergy Testing

A lot of dogs don’t get tested for allergies but do get treatment from the vet with antibiotics, steroids or medicated skin washes. This will only treat the symptoms and not the cause! The best thing to do is get a full allergy test from the vet, this can be quite expensive but it’s worth it, it will eventually save you money and more important it will save your dog from any misdiagnosis or mistreatment.


Types of Allergies

Environmental and Seasonal Allergies

The most common of all the types of allergies.  This can be anything in the environment in- and outside the house, from grasses, pollens, molds and dust mites to cottons, wool, cleaning materials and so on. But it can also be an allergy to flea or tick medication or an allergy to the flea itself called flea bit dermatitis. Environmental allergies can be caused by inhaling a substance or through skin absorption. If we know what type of environmental allergy it is, we can either remove the object or irritant that causes the allergy, or if that’s not possible, treat the specific allergy and it’s symptoms.

In the case of some airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your dog develop resistance.

If your dog suddenly has an allergic reaction, be sure to check your dog’s environment:

  • Did you use a new type of laundry detergent, softener or cleaning materials?
  • Do you have a new rug or made any other changes in the home?
  • Did you wash your dog recently or gave him flea or tick treatment?

bb

Food Allergies

The most common Food allergies in Dogs are: grains, soy, corn, potatoes, wheat or a specific kind of meat or fish. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea or vomiting or even breathing difficulties. In most cases a well balanced high quality diet will cure all of the symptoms. However this might mean you will have to change your dog’s diet to fresh meat, home cooked meals or an all natural hypo-allergenic food which can be quite expensive.


Most common Allergy Symptoms

  • Itching and biting
  • Hives and Skin Bumps
  • Chronic Ear Infections
  • Stinking coat, paws or ears
  • Swollen or Running Eyes
  • Butt twirling
  • Interdigital Cysts (itchy red spots between the toes)
  • Hot Spots (wet and red spots on the skin)
  • Constant licking or Sneezing
  • Hair loss or crusts on the skin
  • Bacterial or yeast skin infections

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Treatments

Antibiotics
The kind of antibiotic medication used to treat your dog will be prescribed by your veterinarian after diagnosing and determining which type of organism is to blame
Antihistamines

Such as Benadryl, Zyrtec or Claritincan can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Always contact your vet first.
Steroids
A short term boost which gives the dog temporary relief. Long term usage of steroids may do your dog more harm than good.
Allergy Shots
In the case of some airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections
Diet
In the case of food allergies a well balanced and high quality diet is a must

Prevention

Bathing
Bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best. Beware bathing can also work counterproductive when fighting of certain infections so be sure to consult your vet before bathing a dog with skin problems/allergies.

Cloting
If your dog has allergies like grass put clothing and/or boots on them when going outside. If your dog won’t walk with boots make sure to clean their paws and bellies after a walk.

Housekeeping
Avoid using any cleaners or perfumes as possible, try natural cleaners on the floor and places they lay or visit often. Only use all natural, hypo allergenic detergents and softeners to wash your dog’s bed

Diet
As mentioned before a good diet is essential for a dog with allergies, not only for the ones with a food allergy. A highly nutritious, well balanced meal will support their immune system

Vitamins and Supplements
There are many kinds of dog supplements and vitamins available on the market; in pills, powders, drops, some especially for the skin or coat.

Probiotics
Probiotics are  micro organisms that can provide health benefits by adding beneficial bacteria to your dog’s digestive system. You can buy probiotics in pills, supplements, or you can give greek yogurt to your bulldog on a daily basis

Important: Always consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis before starting any treatment. A lot of Bulldogs with skin problems are treated for allergies and the other way around, so make sure to get a diagnosis and when in doubt don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. The internet, forums, fellow bulldog buddies can all be of great help, but I can not emphasize this enough, never rely solely on this, always ask for a medical opinion from a veterinarian before starting any treatment.