New options for canine allergies

Placing allergy drops under a dog’s tongue can be as effective as allergy injections for controlling skin allergies, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Douglas DeBoer, professor of dermatology at the veterinary school and chief author of the new study, said in a news release that he sees several benefits emerging from the new study.

The study treated skin allergies in 217 dogs using allergy drops that were placed under the dogs’ tongues twice a day (allergy shots are typically injected every 14 days). According to DeBoer, about 60 percent of the dogs improved significantly.

DeBoer said that because the drops act through a different mechanism than allergy shots, they were able to help dogs that had "failed" allergy shots.

Just as people can suffer a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to allergy shots, dogs can also suffer reactions that may result in collapse and shock. According to the University of Wisconsin, even those dogs treated in the study that had previously had such a dangerous reaction to an allergy shot did not have it with the under-the-tongue drop method.

Because of this, DeBoer said drops appear to be safer than shots.

"A lot of owners are needle-shy, and would never consider giving allergy shots, and may not even have the dog evaluated for that reason," DeBoer said in the release. "Now there is an option that is very user-friendly."

The study was reported July 24, 2012 at the World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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