Drug Allergy in Dogs

Drug Allergy in Dogs

Drug hypersensitivities are very common in dogs. Usually, signs of this often show in the dog's skin. Sometimes, the allergic reaction of the skin to medications doesn't show up immediately. An allergic reaction to drugs doesn't only target the skin, but it can affect other organs, such as the liver and blood cells. 

Hypersensitivities in all types of dogs that show through the skin is a  condition is called allergic dermatitis. There is an epidemic of itchy skin conditions in dogs nowadays, and drug allergies are one of the biggest contributors to this.

Drug allergies aren't just manifested as skin conditions, such as rashes, but they can also be seen as blood abnormalities and liver damage. An example of a major adverse reaction is an anaphylactic shock that would typically occur in just a few hours after the drug has been administered to the dog. However, there are also cases where the symptoms are delayed and don't show up for a couple of days or even months which is why sometimes, veterinarians are less likely going to make the connection that the problem is caused by a drug allergy.

Anaphylactic shock often happens after vaccination. It can be fatal when not treated immediately. It can cause breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, collapse, and worse, death.


Adverse Drug Reactions Aren't Part of Vet School Curricula

Drug allergies aren't widely taught in vet schools. It is the reason why other veterinarians don't have this at the top of their list and they tend to rule out this cause more often.

However, a lot some veterinarians are now conducting a lot of studies regarding this topic. Not only will it help other vets and pet owners to learn more about what they're administering in their dog, but it will also raise awareness in drug manufacturers about the contents of the drugs that they're making.


Symptoms Of Drug Allergy In Pets

Here are some of the possible symptoms of drug allergy in your dog:

  • Swelling of the face
  • Itchy skin
  • Respiratory problems
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in urinary habits
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal Bleeding

These symptoms may or may not be associated with drug therapy, but it shouldn't be ruled out. It should always be brought to your veterinarian's attention. 


How do memory T cells work?

The body's immune system has a type of cell called "memory T cell". This cell keeps track of the foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria in the body. For an instance, if your dog is allergic to medication from a vaccine, the memory T cells in his body that were exposed to it will build a protective attack if the associated pathogen is encountered again. These protective cells have the ability to recognize the substances that attacked them which caused an allergic reaction in the past. After knowing this, a patient (dog), should never be exposed again to the drug that caused him to develop an allergy.


Blood Test To Determine What Drug Is At Fault

If you suspect that your dog might be allergic to a drug that he has recently or previously taken, consider doing a blood test for your dog. 

There are laboratories that have the ability to test animal blood and see the presence of memory T cells and antibodies which are the immune markers that can help in determining what drug might be the cause of the adverse reactions.

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