Atopy (Allergies)

What is atopy?
Atopy is allergy to environmental pollens. Some of the most common environmental pollens in southwest Missouri are: ragweed, bermuda grass, oak, walnut, fescue, and molds. These are pollens that pets are exposed to on a routine basis.

May I use antihistamines to give my pet relief?
Antihistamines may be used, but they provide little benefit and generally don’t stop the reaction. The positive benefit is that they may help sedate the pet so they can rest for short periods of time.

What about steroids?
Previously, they were the only effective treatment available for these patients. The problem with steroids is that it is like aiming a shotgun at the immune system. They not only affect the allergies, but also every organ system in the body. Depending on the sensitivity of each individual to steroids, they can contribute to lowering the body’s defense and cause more infections, kidney disease, liver disease, dental disease, and the list continues. Steroids are available in injectable forms such as kenalog, vetalog, and depo-medrol. Tablets are commonly available as prednisolone, predisone, or medrol. Steroid are rarely used for treatment of atopy There are select cases in which we may use them for a few days, but never long term.

What about Apoquel?
Apoquel is the initial break through to treat allergies in the dog. Apoqel directly targets the allergy complex, effectively blocking the cascade of events that causes the licking, biting, or scratching( allergic reaction symptoms). Apoquel, after a loading dose, can be administered daily. Apoquel only stays in the body for 20 hours. Therefore, if a dose is missed or a severe patients is being treated, this four hour window lapse (24 hrs/day minus 20 hours of treatment) allows some patients to have flare-ups and some degree of allergic reaction symptoms.

What do you recommend for treatment of atopy?
Cytopoint ! It is a monoclonal antibody directed against the atopy complex. Cytopoint is an injection that provides treatment coverage for 30 days with no lapses.

Will these products solve all allergies?
Yes, if the cause is Atopy. It is important that all concurrent secondary infections such as yeast, bacteria, and external parasites (fleas, ticks, mites) be resolved. Failure to resolve the concurrent problems will give incomplete results. There are certain diagnostic tests which must be run to determine the status of such infection.

Anal Gland Q&A

What are the anal glands?
They are two small secretory gland setting at the four and eight o’clock position around the anus.

What are their purpose?
They are suppose to secrete a small amount material every time your dog eliminates to mark territory.

Why are they such a problem?
The problem is generally in smaller breeds of dogs due to damage and premature deterioration of the muscle around the gland that is required to express them.

I have them expressed regularly.
Is this adequately managing the problem? While it true properly expressing the gland will give temporary relief, the problem will return. The treatment of expressing these glands is painful in itself. Any patient having two or more episodes per year is candidate for surgery.

I heard regular expression of glands was necessary in small breed dogs?
No. If the gland is functioning, expression is not required. The routine expression of the gland even correctly will further damage the gland contributing to the problem.

How complex is the surgery?
The surgery is a one day procedure with patient going home that night.

What can I expect after surgery ?
The surgical area is sore for about 5-7 days. We will prescribe pain medications to provide comfort during the healing phase. We also recommend Miralax the first week after surgery to prevent discomfort in elimination and prevent constipation.

Is there any post surgery care required?
Patients must wear a protective cone to prevent chewing at the incision sites during healing. This an area where there is high risk of the patient chewing out stitches if a protective cone is not worn.

What are the complications of surgery?
Less than 5% of the surgical patients will have temporary fecal incontinence up to two weeks (dropping stool unaware as they walk across floor.)

“My personal experience from caretakers over the year after performing the surgery is they regret not having the surgery sooner.” – Donald Loden, DVM