Meaning, there is not really a pathogen, and so no infection and no disease. But note that there must be an allergen, else it is no allergy. Many physicians diagnose an "allergy" but neither find nor care to find the allergen.
- Bone marrow produces 16 types of white blood cells (leukocytes), one of which are eosinophils.
- These eosinophils (and many other leukocytes) patrol the body via the cardiovascular system.
- When they encounter a foreign substance, the eosinophils leak from the bloodstream into the tissues surrounding the site of encounter.
- There they "drop bombs" subject to how harmful the foreign substance appears to be: they deposit granules of cytokines, chemokines, and even cytotoxic proteins that irritate, modify, or destroy the foreign substance and surrounding own tissue that already appears harmed.
- The many wounded on this "battlefield" (remember "bombs") show as the symptom inflammation.
The reason why for this MUCH simplified immune system process description I mention eosinophils (and not one of the many other leukocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, or indeed the many beneficial bacteria that also help the immune system!) is that eosinophils are the key immunological response in an allergy (so is the present medical understanding).
Now, when these eosinophils encounter an allergen, they drop "bigger bombs" (more harmful protein granules) than this same allergen warrants in other organisms: they treat the allergen as if it was a disease-causing pathogen.
As you learned from the interactions between all body systems, the immune system permanently communicates with all the other body systems (directly or indirectly). It knows - much better than any physician could ever know(!) - that in some way the organism already is sick.
Therefore it aims to keep any potential further harm at bay! It drops "bigger bombs" (more harmful protein granules) than the allergen would warrant in a healthy organism.
In other words, the immune system does not "over-react" here, it just naturally reacts more than it would if the organism were healthy to start with!
Or what do you do when you look after someone you know is sick? You keep any potential further harm at bay! Right?
And you don't consider that an "over-reaction", you consider that common sense. Because you know that a sick person (say your child) is at particular risk of further harm at that time.
Vaccination protocol, and even every vaccine leaflet, explicitely prohibits this because at a time when the immune system deals with sickness it gets critically shocked the moment the vaccine is injected directly into the bloodstream.
Interestingly, shock results in confusion, and often memory loss too. You see there are more types of shock than they list here, and there are more causes of confusion than they list here, and memory loss is not limited to the mind, in fact fundamentally it is on a molecular level anyway.
The confusion is maxed out when a vaccine combination is administered. Now the immune system is totally lost as to how to react, and it may no longer be able to react right going forward: it got harmed long-term.
And yet both is common practice:
- most dogs see the vet because of some sickness
- the vet rightfully fears the owner will not come back when the dog is fine
- and so despite being treated for some sickness, the dog also is vaccinated!
- And to max out the vet's chances, the vet administers a vaccine combination, often even the six-pack DHLPPCv!
You may choose to agree with what mainstream allopathic physicians say, and prescribe, and make you pay. I won't hold a grudge.
Just be aware of the consequences: When you allow - and pay for - the standard treatment of an allergy (namely steroids and/or NSAIDs), you add to the body more of what makes the body's cells sick! And my Foundation of Health clearly states:
"When you add something that healthy cells don't like, you make some healthy cells sick."
So now when you add more steroids and/or NSAIDs, you make even more cells sick! In my point of view, medical treatment could not be more misguided.
But I admit, the way it's done it makes the most money for physicians and pharma industry. And indeed, individual medical history of treated dogs (and people!) shows: Patients treated with anti-inflammatories always come back for the treatment of further health issues.
Obviously another cause of allergies is steroid treatment itself: As the linked word explains in more detail, both steroids and NSAIDs always have anti-inflammatory properties, they drastically impair the immune system (or shut it down completely). Even months after the end of treatment!
Who Suffers Skin Allergies
In general, dogs are just as susceptible to allergies as people. Only that allergies in people primarily show in a runny nose, coughing, and sore eyes, while allergies in dogs primarily show in the skin.
Hence why it makes sense to label this chapter Skin Allergy: Dog food allergies too show in the skin. So do drug allergies.
While any dog can develop a Skin Allergy, they primarily affect dogs that have to eat industrial dog "food" (kibble or tin food). Across all disorders, feeding waste clearly is the most common cause because the cell toxins the waste comprises accumulate in all body cells on a daily basis.
For the particular disorder Skin Allergy however I would argue that vaccination when sick is the more common cause, because most dogs are subjected to an array of vaccinations already at puppy age, when dog food hasn't had long-term impact yet.
Finally, lightly short-haired German Shepherds and those with no undercoat may be more susceptible to skin contact allergies from floor cleaners, carpet binders, wood stains, yard pesticides, flea bites, etc.
- patches of irritated reddish skin
- within days in several locations
- possibly slight swelling (if severe swelling it's either from an infection or from prolonged scratching/biting)
- possibly hair loss
- dog scratches, bites, or licks the skin more habitually than aggressively*
- possibly frequent sneezing or coughing, or rubbing the eyes
- any sign of symmetry of symptoms on the skin
- but not the signs of an infection:
- no pus or other discharge
- no odor
- no puncture wounds
- no lesion (except if from scratching/biting)
- if any marks then rather whitish dots than blackish dots
- no visibility of parasites (eg mites, fleas, ticks, worms)
* Note that the dog will scratch, bite, or lick the skin more habitually than aggressively, because disorders including allergies rather cause discomfort, while infections (diseases) rather cause pain.
Behavioral symptoms like this are very helpful for correct diagnosis, but rarely enquired by the average veterinarian.
Preventing Skin Allergies
If you've come through this chapter from the beginning, you already know how to prevent a life plagued by allergies and their associated treatment cost, and discomfort for the dog or indeed yourself:
- Avoid all unnecessary* vaccinations and "boosters"
- particularly when the dog has, or has had any sickness in the past 6 weeks! THINK: the dog survived that without vaccination, why rush now??
- particularly vaccine combinations
- particularly when the puppy is not even 4 months old, and no titer has been done
- Avoid all steroids and NSAIDs
- Avoid antibiotics, unless these stringent criteria are met
- Avoid all industrial "dog food" and "treats", only feed REAL natural foods.
* Avoid all unnecessary vaccinations:
- Dogs (and people) acquire natural immunity day by day, even against life-threatening diseases, else neither dogs nor people would exist: they and we survive a plethora of pathogenic attacks every single day, because we naturally acquire immunity by being exposed to naturally limited amounts of all pathogens.
- This natural immunity is general and complete, it trains all immunological defense mechanisms. Conversely, vaccination provides only selective and incomplete immunization, it reaches only one immunological defense mechanism, and only for the pathogen in the vaccine. Which is why all defense mechanisms get weaker through vaccination. Lack of practice, lack of training!
- A few pathogenic attacks are so sophisticated or so numerous that they defeat the immune system at times when the immune system has been weakened too much. Only these life-threatening diseases warrant vaccination, all others provide the necessary training for the immune system!
- Life-threatening for dogs are only Parvo and Distemper.
- If a disease is not prevalent in the dog's living environment, vaccination does nothing but harm.
- If the dog's lifestyle does not expose the dog to a pathogen that is prevalent, vaccination does nothing but harm. Example, a dog that doesn't get to roam around is not exposed to the pathogen even if it is prevalent in the dog's living environment.
- The act of "having vaccinated" must not make us wrongly believe that "now no care need to be taken", because vaccine immunization is not always effective, and the Foundation of Health always applies.
All details in Dog Vaccinations and Puppy Vaccinations.
As for the last point (4) in the penultimate list, "only feed REAL natural foods", most of today's dog owners struggle to remember how dogs have been fed before the 1950ies: Throughout history domesticated dogs survived and thrived on nothing but REAL food leftovers, "table scraps" if you want.
While today's processed "foods", and worse, the processed waste products of processed "foods", comprise so many cell toxins that the Foundation of Health is being violated not just yearly upon vet visits, but daily with every meal.
And yet, most of today's dog owners struggle to "find the time" to make REAL foods for their family, and so to share them with their dog too. Although historically most people worked 16 hours a day, 6 days a week. While today, well, most people work far less, and yet surprisingly now they "don't find the time".
So to make eating and feeding REAL foods as easy and quick and affordable for you as I make it for myself, I have summarized a LOT of leading tips under Daily Dog Meal Suggestions and further pages in the menu: Care > Dog Food.
To prevent skin contact allergies, make sure:
- that the dog gets an effective flea, tick, and mosquito remedy as needed for the living environment and individual lifestyle
- that the dog does not get exposed to allergens in chemicals that end up on the coat, on the skin, or on the paw pads (floor cleaning detergents, yard care products, etc)
- and that when you wash the dog, use products specifically for dogs, like for example Zymox Enzymatic Shampoo because dog skin is different from human skin. More dog-suitable remedies under Dog Care and Dog Health.
To prevent inhalant allergies (rare in dogs):
- keep your dog away from pollen, hay, smoke, etc where possible
- keep your home fairly dust-free and well aired
- do NOT use room "refreshers", many of the aerosols are allergenic to both people and dogs! Just open the windows.
Treating Skin Allergies
Alternatively one might argue the allergen is irrelevant, because the goal is to heal the immune system, such that it ignores the "allergen".
However, my reasoning for identifying the allergen first is that this will actually help healing the immune system: it will suggest what's wrong in the first place, and so it allows to narrow in on the right approach to healing.
Whichever approach you choose, don't pay for the standard blanket treatment of allopathic medicine, which here again is, guess what, anti-inflammatory drugs like cyclosporine, oclacitinib, and others! See for example these guys. Shocking really.
The allopathic standard blanket treatment likely will successfully make the allergy symptoms temporarily disappear (that's their purpose), but certainly not provide cure: impossible because such medicaments prevent the immune system from starting the healing process.
So you will soon be back with your dog to pay for more. More "consultation" and more drugs. Sometimes more of the same drugs, other times they may try some different anti-inflammatories.
Also don't forget, more often than not the vet hasn't verified whether it really is an allergy at all, namely when the vet hasn't bothered to identify the allergen. No allergen, no allergy! So then, after all is said and paid, all was for nothing.
"But the disturbing symptoms are gone?" - No, by now your dog has way more, more of the same symptoms at the same body location or rather new symptoms in new locations. And all of these are related to the chosen treatment of the first symptoms. Because still, cure is outstanding.
As should no longer come as a surprise, you see there they wrongly describe allergies as a disease. They even say they are "excited" for the discovery of yet another anti-inflammatory drug (more choice, more income). And they do not once discuss the cause of allergies! Oh dear.
Conversely, it is refreshing, yes outright helpful, when for once we can trust accurate medical description, here from the Cleveland Clinic: "Environmental Allergies: Medicines help treat your allergy symptoms once you have them, but there are several steps you can take to prevent symptoms before they occur" (emphasis by myself).
Note that the clinic here does not even purport to offer cure with medicines, they make clear outright that all that the medicines will do is: treat the symptoms. Exactly!
Sources of allergens
If you choose to follow my suggestion to first identify the allergen, you may need some tips how to go about that. Primarily allergens are to be found in vaccines, medicaments, food, living quarters, or the environment.
- alien cell fragments
- adjuvants etc
When segmented or weakened or killed pathogens are grown in a cell culture (of monkey kidney cells, another dog's kidney cells, or other), and the harvested antigens are isolated from that tissue culture, no purification method can yield a pure vaccine suspension, it always also contains tiny cell fragments from the growth medium used.
These alien cell fragments of course can cause an allergic reaction in the vaccinated dog or person: The organism's immune system treats the alien substance like a pathogen, although this alien substance would not actually harm the organism.
In addition, the vaccine suspension is not just the antigen material but also comprises chemical adjuvants, stabilizers, and preservatives - one or more of which can cause an allergic reaction in the vaccinated dog or person.
Many medicaments contain allergens, for example:
- Antibiotics like bacitracin, neomycin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, sulfonamide, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, penicillin, etc. Surprisingly, the latter, penicillin, accounts for 75% of the fatal anaphylactic shocks in the USA!
- Antimycotics/ Antifungals
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen, etc
- Anaesthetics like benzocaine, etc
- Antiseizure drugs like carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, etc
- Antihistamine like promethazine, etc
- Chemotherapy drugs
- and even the common aspirin, yes.
This is what for most people first comes to mind, "the allergen must be in the food". Sometimes indeed it is, but an intolerance is no allergy.
Conversely, symptoms of an allergy can show anywhere in the organism, including on the skin. In dogs, Skin Allergy symptoms are the rule, not the exception.
Be aware that an allergy always requires an allergen, and the immune system responds to an allergen in a clearly identifiable way, eg with the production of the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight the allergen as if it was a pathogen: IgE releases histamine and other chemicals that start the immune response and trigger the allergy symptoms.
If a blood test does not show increased levels of antibodies like IgE, or T cells, or other molecular immune responses, then there is no allergen, and so no allergy!
Common food allergens:
- beef protein
- milk products
- wheat products
- barley products
- soya products
I disagree with the common statement: eggs. There are multiple evolutionary protection mechanisms that prevent harm to what is meant to become offspring (eggs would naturally grow chicks). I suspect that where eggs are the suspected allergen, more often than not it is something else.
In fact, because of the evolutionary protection mechanisms, eggs are probably among the safest foods of all. Despite any and all the pathogens and chicken feed medicaments that (particularly) cage hens are exposed to.
Certainly MUCH safer than meat grown in our modern food chain: Meat is the most contaminated food of all. Maybe organic meat is an exception, but where can we buy truly organically raised meat, and at what price?
- mold spores
- dust mites
- flea bite saliva
- cockroach droppings
- tobacco smoke
- some carpet and blanket fibers
- some plastics
- many paints and varnishes
- all "room refreshers" with aerosols
While shed proteins in cat hair or dander can be an allergen to dogs, and dog hair or dander can be an allergen to people, hair or dander of another dog apparently is no allergen to dogs.
Although rare, a metal dog collar can trigger allergy symptoms. And those collars shouldn't be used anyway: they are uncomfortable and restrict breathing which causes stress, and stress causes health and behavior issues, up to and including aggression.
- grass, flower, weed, and tree pollen
- outdoor mold spores on decaying leaves, or from ventilation and exhaust shafts of subway stations, restaurants, office buildings, etc
- airborne chemical emissions from factories and engines.
How to test for allergens
So now, if your dog is suspected to have a Skin Allergy, not a Skin Infection, and if you choose to follow my suggestion to first identify the allergen, consider the listed sources of allergens to quickly narrow in on the most likely allergens to your dog.
- If your dog wasn't subjected to a vaccination, you can rule out vaccine allergens.
- If you didn't readily pay for the standard drugs of allopathic medicine, you can rule out medicament allergens.
- Obviously food your dog gets every day, so to rule out food allergens I'd suggest to keep a slim diary with notes on the exact food your dog is eating. With kibble or tin "food" of course this is difficult since you can never know what is really in the package: labels are misleading. But with homemade food you know exactly what you give and you can change foods one by one.
- In reality, household allergens seem to be more common than food allergens. Again with the above list, it should be easy to test for the various household allergens by changing or eliminating what you can.
- With environment allergens, testing is more difficult: you can't (or shouldn't) keep a GSD indoors all year just because there are always some pollen carried with the wind. The good news here is that, unlike with people, dogs rarely react allergic to pollen anyway.
How allergen identification helps treatment
Remember that earlier I explained that, in my view, the cause of allergies is earlier harm done, and most likely the harm done was vaccination while sick, causing a severe shock to the immune system that left confusion behind (on a molecular level).
Treating just the element of shock and the resulting confusion - with the goal of cure(!) - is the same whether it is a shock to the nervous system say from a car accident or a shock to the immune system say from vaccination while sick: incremental exposure to achieve desensitization and thus re-establish immunological tolerance.
- First we make sure that we support the health of all body systems: the Foundation of Health.
- At the same time we give them rest by completely avoiding further shock and confusion (here avoiding the allergen, vaccination, drugs, etc).
- When there are clear signs of recovery (no further sickness, health is stabilizing), a first micro-exposure starts the desensitization.
- In the absence of allergy symptoms, exposure is incrementally increased and held steady for weeks at a time.
Note that this regimen of desensitization is very different to the allergen immunotherapy undertaken by allopathic physicians which actually amounts to further shocks to the immune system (injecting the allergen into the bloodstream etc) that cause further harm, including the risk of anaphylactic shock!
Instead, this regimen of desensitization follows the well-established principle of homeopathy (infinitesimal stimulation), and so it is safe and works very well for food allergens and environment allergens too, see for example here.
So, is it really true that "there is no cure for allergies"?
Although so obviously the foundation, the Foundation of Health is being violated all the time by physicians and their patients. Then, cure is outstanding.
Can you give back a bit today?