Whew...Oak Pollen is finally gone

I got him into a Veterinary Dermatologist today and was thrilled to be talking to someone who was on the same page as all that I have learned here and other reading. I was able to keep the worst of Cooper's allergy symptoms controlled during the height of the season but he still has red itchy eyes and pink ears even now. This vet hates Apoguel and won't prescribe it if she can help it. She said Zyrtec is the preferred antihistamine and the latest paper that she read even increased to dosage to around 1mg per pound twice a day. In fact if Coop was on Apoquel he wouldn't have to discontinue it but Zyrtec masks the allergic response so effectively that she doesn't want him to take it for two weeks prior to testing. He gets the scratch testing in two weeks. He was in good shape for her exam minus a little yeast in his ears and was thrilled at my level of knowledge. Said they were hiring 🤣🤣. She also said, after looking at his history that dogs with environmental allergies often have gastric issues. I told her where we are with his diet and no food trial is indicated at this time.
It just feels good to have a partner in his treatment instead of an adversary.    

You need to be a member of Doodle Kisses to add comments!

Join Doodle Kisses

Email me when people reply –


          • Environmental allergies DO get worse with age. That's why it's so important to get them diagnosed and start a treatment plan as early as poosible. 
            Jack did not have a cone after his allergy testing, and he did not try to lick or scratch his test area.  It probably wouldn't help, because it wouldn't prevent them from scratching the area with their nails if it's bothering them. But a surgical suit might. Or it might irritate the area, I'm not sure. I'd ask the derm vet before spending the money. 

      • The vet techs don't seem to have gotten the message yet that the whole "grain-free food causes DCM" thing was a false theory which has now been disproven, by veterinarians no less. You might want to pass this article along to her next time you see her:

        Grain-free diet not linked to DCM in dogs, research review finds
        Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs is largely an inherited disease and not the result of a grain-free or legume-rich diet.
  • That's really interesting that they said dogs with environmental allergies often have gastric issues.  

    Did they mention if it's just that they often go together (generally hyper-vigilant immune system) or that the gastric issues are CAUSED by the environmental allergies?  

    That veterinary dermatologist sounds great I'm so glad you found a good one who actually keeps her knowledge current!

    • Yes, I did talk about that way back in one of your previous discussions. It's a hyperactive immune system that's behind both Atopic Dermatitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The dermatologist told me Jack had a "screwed up" immune system. In all of this, the immune system is mis-identifying ordinarily harmless substances as threats, and launching an attack. 
      A long while back, I read an article by a French immunologist who talked about "one airway" when linking Atopy and gastrointestinal disease in humans. When I mentioned that to Jack's dermatology specialist after his IBD diagnosis, she smiled. Then she talked about something called "cross reactivity". Cross-reactivity in allergic reactions occurs when the proteins in one substance (typically pollen) are similar to the proteins found in another substance (typically a food). For example, if you are allergic to birch tree pollen, you may also find that eating apples causes a reaction for you. 
      I found a lot of interesting examples of this. The substances are not things you would normally connect, like birch trees and apples, lol. 
      The immune system is a very, very complicated thing. If I had my life to live over, that would be my field of study.
      Info on cross-reactivity. It's pretty interesting: https://www.allergicliving.com/2010/07/02/oral-allergy-syndrome-cro...

      Oral Allergy Syndrome: Why do Pollens and Foods Cross-React?
      If pollen makes you sneeze, it may also give you an itchy mouth or worse to fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery. It's called oral allergy synd…
      • I wonder if it has anything to do with haptens.  I don't know much about them but they mention that they share "allergenic proteins" - haptens are allergens that link up with body proteins to cause allergies.  Maybe all these "cross reactive" allergens are haptens that share the same carrier protein.

        • I also don't know much about haptens, but it's my understanding that they are involved in things like contact dermatitis, which is one of the mysteries of the allergy world, lol. In the examples I have read about, it's mainly chemical/drug reactions; I haven't seen anything that mentions haptens in connection with common organic allergens like pollen, although there does seem to be some connection with mold, as in penicillin. 

    • I think Karen told me the same thing when I was having so many problems with food and his stools and she referenced his allergies. I believe it would be the hypervigilante immune systems. I could be mistaken. I was happy to be able to report having his dietary issues stable. 

      • I must share that Cooper is totally symptom free at the moment. He just had a bath with a Keto/Chlor. type shampoo and not an itch in sight! Its like when you live all weekend and your kid has an anoying cough until Monday morning when you can finally get them into the pediatrician. 

        So this begs the question...what if his allergies are mostly seasonal? Is that a different course of treatment? There are environmental things in the house that can be tweaked to potentially take care of for the rest of the year. I emailed the vet with this question also. Will we have a conversation about options before they go straight to the preparing vaccine for his lifetime? 

        • The thing with allergies is that there are almost always multiple allergens, and it's when the largest numbers of them are all present in the environment at the same time that you have the biggest flares and the most discomfort, because there is a kind of threshold of what the immune system can tolerate and manage without much intervention. So it's going to depend on what Cooper tests positive for. The whole point of the immunotherapy (you will be given antigens, not "vaccine") is to gradually raise that tolerance threshold so that the immune system doesn't go crazy with overload. 
          To give you an example, Jack was allergic to 15 different things, which included both indoor and outdoor/seasonal allergens. He was highly allergic to two different kinds of dust mites, both of which are constantly present indoors year round, storage mites, which are the same, cat dander (I had a cat), and a certain type of mold that's commonly found in water pipes. (Again, year round and indoors.) Then he was mildly allergic to a couple of pollens that are prevalent in spring, moderately allergic to several grass pollens that are prevalent in summer, and the biggest issue was high positive reactions to ragweed and several other weed pollens that are prevalent in the fall. 
          I had a list of ways to manage the indoor/year round stuff: dust and vacuum constantly, especially in the areas where the dog sleeps (I threw out the dust ruffle from my bed, lol. Only blinds on the windows, etc.), keep dry food stored in air tight containers, wash the containers with soap and hot water,  throw out the bags, wash the dog's bowls every day, change the furnace filter monthly, etc. I've posted my list of all this several times here, including in one of your discussions. During pollen season, wipe the dog down when they come in from outside, bathe frequently with appropriate shampoos, no hot driers, etc.
          He managed just fine in the winter, even before he started immunotherapy. In spring, he'd have a bit more trouble: red eyes, redness in other areas, a little bit itchier. In summer, the symptoms got worse, and in the fall when the ragweed hit, he'd go crazy with the itching. I mean, crazy. 

          So, his immunotherapy injection schedule varied throughout the year; the frequency of the shots and the amount of antigen given each time was tweaked with the seasons. Same with his supplements & antihistamines. And during the worse time of year, he was bathed every other week. 
          Your specialist will go over Cooper's results with you. You will start out with an induction phase where the shots are given very frequently (every 1-2 days) for a period of time and you will increase the concentration of the serum as well as the amount given each injection until you are at full concentration, at which point you will go to a shot every week, then every two weeks, and if you are lucky, every three or four weeks. His other meds/supplements may also need adjusting seasonally, as well as his baths.
          I know it seems overwhelming, but you will get detailed instructions all printed out and it doesn't take long for it all to become second nature. 
          I hope Cooper does as well with the treatment as Jack did. It was a Godsend for us. 

          • Thanks so much Karen for your patience in taking the time to post all of that & explaining all of this to me. I have implemented many of your indoor recommendations already. I got ahead of myself because he is so comfortable right now no meds at all. I clearly have so much to learn and sharing your experience is going to help me understand what the Derm. is going to tell me. Knowing what he allergic to is key. 

This reply was deleted.