Helping Your Dog Avoid the Needle

One of my not-so-fondest memories growing up was my weekly appointment to go get a needle jammed into my arm. Like so many other youngsters, I suffered from some pretty serious seasonal allergies for several years, and went to get allergy shots on a regular basis.

True, the shot didn’t hurt that much. True, I got ice cream and/or baseball cards after each visit. True, allergy shots actually were kind of profitable for me.

But it still wasn’t any fun at the time.

Over the years – whether because of growing older or because the shots helped – I mostly shed my seasonal allergies. Well, other than this year, which has been a veritable shit storm of sneezing and runny noses. I imagine I’m one of the lucky ones, though, as so many others suffer from much worse symptoms than I do or ever have.

Even those on four legs.

Did you know that dogs get seasonal allergies too? Some even get so bad that they scratch raw spots in their hides. And just like for people, there are shots that can be given once every couple of weeks in order to combat nature, which often can be a mother.

There are those out there, however, who are so over-the-top in love with their pets that they won’t let a needle come near them. Rather than relieve ongoing suffering, they choose to spare their dogs the 10 second pain of a needle prick.

Luckily for the dogs, these owners now have a new option.

Something nobody ever told me growing up, is that you can take allergy immunotherapy through daily oral drops as well. You have to take them on a daily basis, instead of just every couple of weeks like a shot, but the technology is out there. And now, it seems that these oral drops can by tweaked four our canine friends as well.

In 2006, a Mary Morris was asked by a clinic employee to try to fix a formula of allergy drops for her golden retriever. Morris gave it his best shot – bun intended – and to his amazement, it worked. Intrigued by the success, a search for canine skin allergy experts brought up one of the world’s most renowned – Douglas DeBoer of the University of Wisconsin.

It took a little bit of convincing that drops could even work, but once a pilot study of 10 dogs proved a success, a much larger study was planned. Given once or twice a day – which can be, obviously, a pain in the ass – 60 percent of the 217 dogs in the study improved significantly. Besides a relief for needle-shy owners, the promise of drops is nice because shots can sometimes result in a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction and sometimes don’t even work at all.

Plus, the drops have a slightly sweet flavor, so most dogs actually like them.

Just a little heads-up in case your canine is one of those with allergy issues.

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About bigkingken

A science writer dedicated to proving that the Big Ten - or the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, if you will - is more than athletics.
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