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Dog allergic to grass?

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  • Dog allergic to grass?

    There was a thread awhile back about using two vets, and I confess I am one of those. I have my favorite, who is very expensive, and I do not care for the other two vets at his practice. Then there is vet two, who is much cheaper and I have no real relationship with any particular vet. Well, yesterday, I took my dog to vet two, to have her anals expressed. I asked if it was possible for her to be allergic to grass, as she seems to have small sores on her legs, and she licks them a lot.
    She said, 'oh yes, she can certainly be allergic to grass. It is very common.' She finished and we were done! She walked out of the room, without asking for a test, or meds or anything! I realize now I should have grabbed her and said help my dog! But I didn't. What should I do?
    Another killer of threads

  • #2
    Well, you can start with allergy testing and shots, but if it were me, I would look at the food first. Allergic responses tend to be cumulative and have a tipping point, so it's important to remove as many possible allergens as you can. What do you feed her? You might want to think about a limited ingredient diet with a novel protein for a while to see if there is an improvement.


    • Original Poster

      well, I have been feeding her dry Food 4 health for over two years. She has the WORST farts.... but that has stopped since she has been eating this stuff. I thought about the food, but the vet said-without testing-is was almost certainly grass allergy. I am a bit peeved that she said that and did nothing. I don't really want to go back again the next day. But if it would help the poor dog....She always gets these horrid open sores on her head, mostly in warmer weather. Vet no 1 gives her a cortisone shot and a vial of puffy powder to spritz on the offending area.
      Another killer of threads


      • #4
        I'd find a vet dermatologist in your area and take your dog for skin allergy testing. There are allergy tests that use a few tubes of blood, but they are not anywhere near as accurate as a skin test. Keep in mind allergy tests cannot test for sensitivity to foods.

        If your dog is more symptomatic in the warmer months, I'd bet you are dealing with an environmental allergen (pollen, plants, etc). A food allergy would exhibit year round symptoms, unaffected by changes in the environment.

        I had a skin test done on one of my dogs at Univ. of Pennsylvania; it was about $400 and tested for over 70 allergens. Money well spent as now we're treating the actual allergy and not the recurrent symptoms.

        In my dog's case, he tested positive to wool and Johnson grass. No wool in the house, so his symptoms [GI upset, recurrent ear infections] pointed to food - and it turns out he is allergic to all animal proteins, including novel protein foods (based on trials of all proteins we could find). So he is on a soy-protein based food. It isn't always as easy as trying novel proteins because dogs can be sensitive to them as well.

        Here's a website that can help you find a board certified dermatologist in your area: http://www.acvd.org/locator/locator.asp
        Last edited by tarynls; May. 16, 2013, 12:47 PM. Reason: addt'l info


        • #5
          I had a vet tell me that my cocker was allergic to grass too. I never went the testing route, I tried food first, before starting with expensive testing and derm consults. The vets do have a prescription hypoallergenic diet that you can try for a month or two, then you can add in novel proteins to see if there's a reaction. There is no reliable test that I know of for food allergies.


          • #6
            I just took my dog to a dermatologist and am so glad I did. His allergies are definitely seasonal and have been getting worse every year. Come August or September, he chews his paws so raw that he limps.

            I tried supplements and antihistamines with little to no success. I spoke with the family vet about Atopica, but it's wildly expensive and made my dog sick to his stomach, so I finally took him to the derm.

            He did the skin testing and poor Mojo reacted to 54 out of 62 allergens, many of which are grasses. He even had a reaction to dog epithelia. My dog is allergic to dogs. Anyway, we started him on immunotherapy sub-lingual drops 2x daily. It can take up to a year to work, so he's on Temaril-P to keep him comfortable through summer. The Temaril-P has worked wonders.

            I wish I had taken him to the dermatologist years ago.


            • #7
              Yes, get thee to a doggie dermatologist. I have one who is allergic to, well, planet earth. Grass, weeds, dust, dust mites, you name it. It was awful when he was younger - he would lick his paws completely red and raw, he had no hair around his eyes, and his armpits and stomach were always red and hot to the touch, poor guy. We did the heavy-duty Atopica, etc. meds and he got a lot better. So much so that we weaned him off to just benadryl when he had flare ups.

              Unfortunately, those good times came to an end when we swapped our gravel yard for one with wood chips and at the same time he suddenly became majorly allergic to the food he'd been on since he was a puppy (he's 9 now). He is now on a food made for allergies, generic Atopica, and a few other meds that are helping immensely. He's a new dog.

              I wouldn't go through it without a true diagnosis, though. There's many things that can cause that reaction, including a sudden food allergy. Worth getting him checked out instead of assuming it's just grass.


              • #8
                Originally posted by catzndogz22 View Post

                I tried supplements and antihistamines with little to no success. I spoke with the family vet about Atopica, but it's wildly expensive and made my dog sick to his stomach, so I finally took him to the derm.
                If you ever need more med-power, there's a generic atopica now that is still pricey but not as wildly expensive as the name brand. It can cause stomach upset the first week (Pepcid AC helps) but they usually get used to it after a week.


                • #9
                  Most people dont want to spend hundreds of dollars testing for what exactly the dog is allergic to (environmentally). Seasonal allergies are typically related to the environment, not food.

                  A simple trial run of something like Vanectyl P often will help the dog out as its also an antiinflammatory. Dirt cheap and usually very effective for short term use. (ie. works great on my dog who is allergic to grass in the spring every year).

                  You can certainly do testing and have your dogs specific serum made up but it can be more costly. Often this is only done for dogs with more severe allergies that arent just routine seasonal.


                  • Original Poster

                    thank you all for your replies

                    The thought of spending hundreds of $$ makes me a little faint. Squish, would I get that at a vet or Tractor Supply?
                    Another killer of threads


                    • #11
                      Yeah, the skin testing was expensive. Nearly $800, $300 of which is for the first five months of the serum. Going forward, it will cost $60 per month.

                      The Temaril-P (same as Vanectyl P) has been a wonder drug. It is, however, a steroid which can have some serious side effects with long term use.


                      • #12
                        I worked at a clinic where one of the dog patients tested allergic to PEOPLE.

                        Grass is very common.

                        I think I read somewhere that food allergies were actually not as common as one would think...
                        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                        • #13
                          Temaril-P / Vanectyl P has to be prescribed from your vet. Its really reasonably priced though. And yes, its a steroid so is best used on a two week tapering dose. Usually very few side effects when you taper quickly...its higher dose long term steroids that have more significant side effects. I didnt notice any at all with my dog, but then again she is always hungry anyway. Some people notice increase in thirst/hunger durng the first few days, but once you taper down the dose (after a few days) this generally disappears. Its a fairly low dose of steroid anyway, so side effects really arent that common. Worth the break from the itchiness in my opinion!