Drug Allergy: A Hidden Cause of Itchy Skin That Many Vets Don’t Know About
- Drug sensitivities in pets often take the form of allergic dermatitis (itchy skin rashes). They can also show up as blood abnormalities and liver damage.
- Frequently, a drug allergy doesn’t create obvious symptoms for months or longer. This is one reason vets don’t make the connection between a pet’s illness and an adverse reaction to a drug.
- Another reason DVMs don’t recognize drug allergies is because the subject isn’t taught in veterinary schools. Dr. Sidonie Lavergne hopes to convince vet schools that drug hypersensitivities are a real problem so they will begin including the subject in pharmacology or toxicology courses.
- Dr. Lavergne’s laboratory can test an animal’s blood for the presence of memory T cells and antibodies to determine what drug might be causing an adverse reaction. She is currently providing diagnostic services, sample supplies and shipping at no cost to DVMs who would like a patient’s blood tested. She also provides free phone consultations to vets.
By Dr. Becker
Dr. Sidonie Lavergne, assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, believes drug hypersensitivities in animals are probably much more common than veterinarians realize.
Dr. Lavergne is heading up a research project with the goal of identifying sensitivity reactions in dogs, to raise awareness in the veterinary community. The primary focus of her research is on delayed allergic reactions that affect the skin.
Drug Allergies in Pets Often Show Up as Allergic Dermatitis
"When drugs are given to pets, either orally or injected, the number one organ that’s affected is the skin," says Lavergne. "My laboratory is trying to understand why."
This will come as no surprise to regular readers of Mercola Healthy Pets, since I often discuss the fact that sensitivities of all types in pets tend to express themselves through the skin as a condition called allergic dermatitis. In my opinion, drug allergies are certainly a contributor to the epidemic of itchy skin conditions we’re seeing in pets these days.
Dr. Lavergne’s experience is that not only do drug allergies manifest as skin conditions like rashes, they also show up as blood abnormalities and liver damage. And she explains that while major adverse reactions like anaphylactic shock typically occur within a few hours of administering a drug, most reactions are actually delayed and symptoms don’t become obvious until the animal has been exposed to the drug for months. This, of course, means veterinarians are even less likely to make the connection that the problem is an allergic reaction to a drug.
Adverse Drug Reactions Aren’t Part of Vet School Curricula
According to Dr. Lavergne, "Most veterinary curricula don’t include adverse drug events in their courses. If students aren’t trained to be aware of it, it probably won’t be on their radar."
This is the principal reason traditionally trained DVMs don’t connect the dots between an animal’s symptoms and an adverse drug reaction. (Holistic vets are much more apt to make the connection.) Lavergne says veterinary schools need to be convinced that drug hypersensitivities are a real problem so they will begin including the subject in pharmacology or toxicology courses.
She believes once vets are made aware of adverse drug events, they will realize it happens more often than they think.
While I’m excited and hopeful about Dr. Lavergne’s research, I’ll be interested to see how much headway she’s able to make in bringing vet schools around to her way of thinking. My suspicion is that veterinary drug manufacturers will work diligently against efforts to bring more awareness of drug allergies to vet students.
Imagine if graduating vet students became so knowledgeable of the potential for adverse side effects that they prescribed fewer veterinary meds, and perhaps even looked for safer, more natural therapies instead? And what if they began to view vaccines and chemical pest preventives with the same degree of caution?
Blood Test to Determine What Drug Is at Fault
As part of her research project, Dr. Lavergne’s laboratory has the ability to test animal blood for the presence of memory T cells and antibodies — immune markers that can determine what drug might be causing an adverse reaction. Lavergne is currently providing diagnostic services, sample supplies and shipping at no cost to DVMs who would like a patient’s blood tested. She also provides free phone consultations and can help vets with diagnoses, even in cases where a suspected adverse drug reaction happened in the past.
"Even if the event happened years ago, a dog will have memory immune cells in its blood that can help confirm whether there was an allergic reaction," Lavergne says. "And if the animal was on multiple drugs at the time, I can determine which one is likely to have caused the problem."
Dr. Lavergne believes that not only will her diagnostic service help vets treat animal patients currently experiencing adverse drug reactions, but the knowledge gained through her research will help future allergic pets as well.
If you suspect your pet might be allergic to a drug she is taking or was given in the past, consider letting your vet know about Dr. Lavergne’s research project. She can be reached at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine at (217) 265-0315, or by email at email@example.com.
September 27, 2013 - Posted by justonemorepet | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Allergic Dermatitis in Pets, Dr. Becker, Itchy Skin in Pets, Pet Drug Allergies
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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- Keep Your Pets Safe on the 4th of July June 30, 2015Family and friends of G.R. Gordon-Ross watch his private fireworks show at the Youth Sports Complex in Lawrence, Kan., Friday, June 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) Mercury News – Originally posted on July 02, 2013: The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Hot dogs, potato salad and, of course, fireworks. But Independence […]justonemorepet
- JOMP Salutes Doggie Dads Both Two and Four Legged June 21, 2015Very few dogs have the experience of being parents these days and especially seeing their litters through the process of weaning and then actually being able to remain part of a pack with at least part of their family. Apachi is our Doggie Dad. He is a Chiweenie and here he is is watching his […]justonemorepet
- Smartest Dog In the World, Chaser – 60 Minutes With Anderson Cooper June 15, 2015By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet (JOMP) – Cross-Posted at AskMarion Anderson Cooper met Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys, and because of whom, scientists are now studying the brain of man’s best friend. Chaser is also the subject of a book: Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog […]justonemorepet
- Quebec bill changes animals from "property" to sentient beings and includes jail time for cruelty June 14, 2015By Tamara – Dog Heirs – Cross-Posted at JOMP Quebec, Canada – Animals will be considered “sentient beings” instead of property in a bill tabled in the Canadian province of Quebec. The legislation states that "animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs." Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis proposed the bill and […] […]justonemorepet
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Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!
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