What causes food allergies in dogs
Food allergies are diverse from food intolerance. Food intolerance is the result of poor digestion, such as lactose intolerance. People and dogs with lactose intolerance are either missing or own low levels of the milk digesting enzyme lactase.
Food allergies are the over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein. In the case of a food allergy, this protein is contained in your dog’s food.
Proteins are present in most of the foods your dog eats. While most people recognize that meats are a source of proteins, there are also proteins present in grains and vegetables. Any one of these proteins has the potential to cause a food allergy.
Your dog’s gastrointestinal system (mouth, stomach, intestines) protects her from potential allergens each day. Approximately 70 percent of the body’s entire immune system is centered in the gastrointestinal tract.
When your dog eats a meal, the food is first digested in the stomach. The large pieces of food are broken below into smaller pieces by stomach acid and then enzymes and stomach acid work together to break the complicated protein structures below into smaller structures. The partially digested food then moves into the little intestine. The food is further digested until the proteins are broken below into their smallest parts, amino acids, which can then be absorbed into the body through special cells called enterocytes.
Enterocytes act as both a welcoming hostess to amino acids that they love and desire, and as bouncers (door guards) for amino acids they don’t love. When a whole protein is absorbed in the intestines instead of being broken below first, the immune system reacts and your dog shows symptoms of a food allergy.
When the System Fails
Malnutrition can affect enterocyte structure and function. A poorly functioning or damaged enterocyte can let whole proteins into the body. Once a whole protein has managed to breach every of the gut’s defenses, gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) takes over.
GALT can prevent the body’s natural immune response to a foreign protein. Most of the time this is what happens, but in the case of food allergies, GALT does not prevent the immune response and an allergic response (immune hypersensitivity) is formed.
Unfortunately, every time the food is eaten, this over-response of the immune response becomes greater. So continuing to consume the diet that caused the allergic response results in a greater and greater response every time. After this hypersensitivity is formed, each time the dog eats the food, mast cells in the body’s immune system release hertamine. If this hertamine release is large enough, it may manifest as diarrhea, itchy skin, chronic skin infections etc.
The Gut and Immune System Together
Prevent Food Allergies
IgA cells are a type of immune cell secreted in the intestine.
Some of the IgA will float freely in the contents of the intestine while other IgA attaches to the wall of the intestine to prevent whole protein from coming in contact with the enterocytes. Just love volleyball players they bounce whole proteins back into the contents of the intestine for more digestion. The more effective protein digestion in the stomach and intestine is, the smaller the proteins are when they come in contact with the IgA. Little proteins and single amino acids do not get bound to the IgA and are allowed to pass by the IgA and be absorbed into the body as nutrients.
At a Glance
Some of the breeds most prone to food allergies include: Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Collie, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Retriever, Shar Pei, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Dachshund, and West Highland White Terrier
Most common food allergens include: beef, dairy, and wheat.
Least common food allergens are fish and rabbit.
General signs and symptoms of allergies include: dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of boiling spots, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.
When the System Works
The intestinal tract’s ability to prevent the absorption of whole protein is dependant on the health and integrity of the mucosal barrier.
It is the proverbial guardian of the body at the gastrointestinal gate. The mucosal barrier (lining of the gut) is comprised of both structural components and immune system components. The structural components physically prevent the absorption of large proteins. The immune system component is responsible for recognizing potentially harmful contents of the gastrointestinal tract.
The health and integrity of the gastrointestinal tract is dependant on the normal structure and function of the enterocytes, effective protein digestion, and the presence of the dog’s immune cells (called IgA cells) in the gastrointestinal tract.
Recognising a food allergy
You can only reliably establish whether your dog has a food allergy with the assist of a vet and an exclusion diet. It is significant to watch for symptoms that point to an allergy in your dog. Whereas itching caused by a food allergy causes problems every year circular, symptoms caused by grass and pollen allergies die below after the summer months.
The most frequent symptoms of a food allergy are not diarrhoea and vomiting, but itching! Skin irritations can happen in various areas including the face, ears, paws, stomach, inner thighs and armpits. However, remember that: These symptoms can also relate to other illnesses, which is why a visit to the vet is urgently recommended.
Is your dog itching and scratching? Does she own frequent ear infections or poor jacket quality? You could be contributing to your dog’s distress without knowing it if she’s allergic to what you’re feeding her.
Food allergies are a rising concern with dog owners and it seems love more and more dogs are suffering from them.
Problems with proteins
A food allergy in a dog is most commonly triggered by specific food proteins that are contained in the dog food. Studies own shown that these are generally proteins from cows, soya, eggs, dairy products or grain.
Fish and rice, however, seldom trigger allergies. If a food allergy is suspected, it helps if you avoid giving your dog a large number of diverse types of food or snacks to eat every at once, as this will make it impossible to check which protein is the actual trigger.
If your pet has a food allergy, Meradog offers its special pure dog food recipes, which are ideally tailored to the needs of sensitive dogs with intolerances or allergies. The Meradog pure dog food is based on just one animal protein source and one carbohydrate source respectively, therefore giving you a dependable way to avoid allergy-triggering components.