When I was an impressionable seventh grader, I read a book by James Herriot entitled All Creatures Great and Small.
Perhaps you have read it as well. If so, you can understand why I was infatuated with becoming a veterinarian. From that point on, my academic focus was on becoming a veterinarian. Eleven years later, after earning my coveted DVM degree, I did what the majority of new veterinarians do... I started practicing in a busy general practice, where I saw everything from brand new puppies and kittens to old dogs and cats at the end of their lives. What did I see most often? Pets with itchy ears, paws, bellies, faces – you name it - they were uncomfortable!! I felt like at least one third of all pets that came to see me had some kind of skin problem. In fact, in a recent survey of veterinarians, the top three reasons that pet owners seek veterinary care for their beloved friends are ear infections, skin allergies, and hot spots. All three are tied to allergies that affect skin. For this reason, I decided to become an expert on all things “skin”. Fast forward to today… I have been board-certified in veterinary dermatology (a skin specialist for animals) since 1999. Since then, I have started a veterinary dermatology practice in the Chicago suburbs as well as the Des Moines metro, taught senior students at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine (my alma mater!), consulted for Veterinary Information Network, and have most recently gone into product development with Healthy GOO ™.
As a veterinary dermatologist, one of the most rewarding things I do every day is help severely itchy and uncomfortable dogs and their frustrated owners get long-term, safe relief from their allergies. You see, unlike in people, whose allergies give them runny noses and watery eyes, dogs become itchy all over, literally from head to toe! If you have ever had a dog with allergies, you know what I mean! Not only do these dogs suffer day in and day out with incessant itching, but their poor owners are often kept up at night listening to that incessant scratching and worrying about if and when it will ever stop! If the pet and owner are fortunate enough to have a veterinary dermatologist nearby, they can elect to have intradermal allergy testing done – a test similar to allergy testing done in people. This test involves multiple (usually 50-70) injections of different allergens (like pollens) into the skin, which then may produce a hive-like reaction if it is one of the things causing the allergy. Once a list of offending allergens is determined, the veterinary dermatologist can formulate a custom-made vaccine for the pet. This vaccine is given underneath the skin with a needle by the owner every few days or weeks. Although it may take several months, the success rate is similar to steroids (like prednisone), but it does not have the long-term nasty side effects of steroids. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a dog (and its owner!) finally getting relief from years of allergy suffering! I wish I could reach every allergic dog in the world and help them as well. Unfortunately, many pets never have the opportunity to have their allergies properly addressed. There are many reasons for this. There simply aren’t enough veterinary dermatologists to go around – under 200 in the entire United States, most of whom are concentrated in large metropolitan areas. Even when a veterinary dermatologist is available, some pet owners don’t have the financial means to see one. Some pets are not candidates for skin testing, whether for behavioral or medical reasons. Many pet owners are simply not aware that the opportunity exists. When I tell casual acquaintances what I do for a living, I am surprised how many of them have never heard of dermatologists for animals. The common response is “I really could have used you when I had my last dog… He really scratched all the time and we never could get him to stop!
All of these reasons explain why I am so excited about this new product called Doggy GOO ™. The name is cute, but “cute” is only skin deep. Dig deeper, and you will find science-based immune support. The neat thing about this product is that it combines the latest research in allergen immunotherapy with the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics. Rather than just targeting one aspect of the immune response towards allergens, it hits all three levels of the immune response to maximally balance the immune system. The special formulation of Doggy GOO ™ exposes the allergens to the mucosal surfaces of the mouth in a similar way that sublingual immunotherapy does (also known as SLIT), which has been the preferred allergy treatment in Europe for years and is gaining popularity in the United States. A quick primer on immunotherapy: Allergic pets (and people) have an inappropriate immune reaction to harmless substances in the air (called allergens). By giving the allergic patient small doses of these same allergens either under the skin with a needle (ouch!) or under the tongue (also called sublingual) as a drop (painless), the immune system is gradually trained to tolerate those allergens. Another advantage of sublingual immunotherapy is that chances of an adverse reaction are greatly reduced when compared to subcutaneous (under the skin) injections. Probiotics have recently been featured in the medical literature as an important treatment to be added to allergen immunotherapy. Prebiotics are special nutrients that boost the effectiveness of the probiotics. So there you have it: a safe approach to frustrating allergies, based on proven science. Did I mention it is all-natural with organic ingredients?
The great thing about Doggy GOO ™ is that it is available to all pet owners, regardless of their proximity to a veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist. It is recommended not only for pets already suffering from allergies, but especially in young puppies and dogs at risk for developing allergies. How do you know if your young dog is at risk? The most popular breeds also happen to be the ones most prone to developing allergic disease: Boston Terriers, Boxers, chihuahuas, Chinese Shar-Peis, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, English Setters, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Pugs, Scottish Terriers, Shiba Inus, Shih Tzus, West Highland White Terriers, Wirehaired Fox Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers. While the incidence of allergies in these breeds is much higher, it is estimated that up to 25% of the entire dog population has environmental allergies. Taking into consideration the most recent census of dogs in the US (based on 72 million dogs), up to 18 million dogs in the US alone are suffering from allergies at any one time. Chances are, if your dog isn’t one of those dogs, you probably know someone who has a dog with allergies right now! Do these four-legged friends a favor – start them on the path towards a more balanced immune system today!
Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of pets and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian.