Allergies – What's Being Done to Stop the Itch?

In the world of dogs, one of the most common issues that owners deal with is allergies. As we discussed in our first article (, Dog allergies are divided into four categories; inhalant or environmental allergies, such as molds, pollens and dust mites, fleabite allergies where a single bite can cause a reaction, and food allergies caused by one or more ingredients usually found in your pet's food. A fourth cause is reactions to vaccinations and medications.

So, what's the latest medical research in the fight against allergies? Where do you go to find out? There are several ongoing studies that may affect future treatments and some of which you and your dog may want to participate in. AKC's Canine Health Foundation  (CHF) sponsors and funds many studies in the hopes of improving the quality of life for all dogs. Many of these studies have been linked with similar research for human diseases to benefit both pets and their owners. 


There are 10 studies currently involving canine allergies. Two studies are focused on the parts of mast cells (those cells that make up the immune system) that are powerful stimulators of inflammation. One study at Ohio State University is looking at novel therapies (supplements, acupuncture, etc.) to inhibit the inflammation caused by allergic reactions, while the other at North Caroline State University, hopes to develop a test to identify, which dogs are at higher risk for developing skin allergies.


Another study is looking to standardize diagnostic testing of dogs for allergies; the current system is not standardized with inconsistent and often provides invalid results. Researchers at North Carolina State U are developing yeast-specific allergy shots that will stop the allergic reaction rather than relying on medication, which doesn't stop the reaction from recurring and may have side effects.  A study at Purdue is researching allergic reactions caused by vaccinations and finding ways to reduce or eliminate the allergic components from vaccines.


For dogs with chronic yeast infections – Atopic Dermatitis - that manifests as itching and infection, often in the ear canal or paws where dogs will lick to the point of self-mutilation, CHF is funding 6 studies.  Research has shown that Atopic Dermatitis is a hypersensitivity to environmental or food allergens caused by specific immunological imbalances. One study is the clinical trials of a new vaccine that may correct this imbalance. One study aims to develop simple blood tests to detect whether a dog is hyper-reactive to its own immune cells and screening tests to determine how a dog will respond to treatment. While most of these studies apply to all breeds of dogs, some are breed specific. A study of West Highland White Terriers hopes to identify the gene(s) of Atopic Dermatitis so that puppies can be screened before the disease occurs, be treated accordingly and spayed/neutered so they do not pass the trait on, eventually eliminating the trait in Westies.


For more information about these studies, other canine health research, and genetic tests, go to the Canine Health Foundation ( To get involved in canine health research, CHF has a list of researchers looking for participants or fill out a survey!


Want to know about what drugs, food additives or devices have been approved or recalled? The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is the place to go: ( In addition, CVM conducts research to further its goal to ensure the safety of food and animal health products. You can also sign up for recall notices to be emailed to you.


Universities that have veterinary schools usually have ongoing health research. If you are interested in health research, check out the university closest to where you live. Most researchers are happy to discuss their studies and many have blogs or chat rooms just for that purpose.


Fifty years ago, canine health research was a new concept. But the development of vaccines that prevent Parvo, Rabies, and Distemper opened a whole new world of possibilities for extending both the quality and quantity of our best friends' lives. Where once it took decades for the development of new treatments, there is so much research in the canine health field today that new advances emerge yearly!


But the area still left undiscovered is comprehensive studies on the affect of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and probiotics on the body.  Science and medicine are still tied to the idea that every problem should be treated reactively with drugs.  At Vibrant Pets, we believe that acting pro-actively with the right balance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino/fatty acids and probiotics prevents many health issues and treats others more completely.  We see how our supplements positively affect the lives of cats, dogs and horses every day because we hear from our clients – every day! We know Vibrant Pets Supplements not only boost the immune system, but also help to keep it in balance so your pet is always at his optimum health. Vibrant Pets is in contact with researchers and lawmakers, and we are  willing to contribute our product and experiences to the scientific study of nutrition as it affects your pets.


As always, please let us know your thoughts and opinions and join us on Face Book (search Vibrant Pets).


Vibrant Pets Research and Development Department






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