food allergies in dogs

Nearly all the food your dog eats contains protein … and these proteins all have the ability to trigger food allergies. The most common proteins to cause allergy symptoms are beef, dairy and chicken, although some plant-based proteins including corn, wheat and soy, can also be triggers.

Most vets and pet owners focus on treating existing allergies with food elimination diets or dangerous immune suppressing drugs. But the cause of food allergies isn’t much understood … or its been forgotten.

It All Started With A Dog And A Jellyfish

In 1913, French physiologist, Charles Robert Richet won a Nobel Prize for his vaccine experiments. He injected dogs with trace amounts of jellyfish poison to see if the dogs would develop a tolerance to it. When he injected the dogs the first time, they seemed OK. When he injected them the second time, the dogs reacted violently and quickly died.

This response was opposite to the protection Richet expected and he named this reaction anaphylaxis. This is latin for anti-protection.

Curious about these results, Richet experimented further. Over the next few years, he injected trace amounts of milk and meat proteins into cats, rabbits and horses and found the same results. The first injection seemed to create a sensitivity to the injected protein.

Serum Sickness

No one knows the long term consequences of injecting foreign proteins into the body. Even more shocking is the fact that no one is making any structured effort to find out.

These results weren’t a complete surprise to Richet. At the same time he was performing his research, Austrian pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet noticed that up to half of vaccinated children developed a strange illness after the first mass scale use of the diphtheria vaccine. This illness was simply called “serum sickness” until Pirquet began studying it. He noticed the symptoms were much like those in people who were hypersensitive to pollens and bee stings. In 1906, he created the word allergy to better describe this reactivity.

Large scale allergies like serum sickness were unknown before vaccines were developed. But by the turn of the century, doctors had clearly identified vaccines as a cause of allergy.

How Food Allergies Develop

When dogs eat protein in their meals, it’s first pre-digested in the stomach where acids and enzymes break the proteins into smaller pieces. This partially digested food then moves into the small intestine, where it’s further digested (or hydrolyzed) and the proteins are broken down into their smallest parts: amino acids. These little amino acids are then allowed to travel through the walls of the small intestine and into the body, through special cells called enterocytes. These cells are capable of rejecting any amino acids they see as a threat … and any foreign protein that does get through is quickly attacked and killed by the immune system.

food allergies in dogs

This is how proteins are meant to enter the body.

But the viruses in vaccines are grown on animal proteins (such as cow fetuses or chicken embryos) – and a small amount of this protein is ground up with the virus and it’s contained in the vaccine. When your dog is vaccinated, those undigested animal proteins are injected directly into his blood stream, bypassing the body’s normal digestion process.

Serum disease, as this is called, is a man-made malady. If we had no curative serums and if there were no such thing as a hypodermic syringe with which to introduce the material under the skin, there would be no serum disease. Instead multitudes would still be dying from diphtheria and lockjaw … Thus, we find ourselves in somewhat of a dilemma, faced with the necessity for choosing the lesser of two potential evils.

These undigested proteins cause a response in a type of immune cell called a TH2 lympocyte. These TH2 cells interact with other lymphocytes called B cells, which make a large amount of antibody (called IgE) that’s specific to each type of protein. The IgE circulates in the blood and binds to an IgE-specific receptor on the surface of other kinds of immune cells called mast cells and basophils, which are involved in the acute inflammatory or immune response after vaccination. The IgE-coated cells are then sensitized to the injected protein. This allows the immune system to respond quickly if that protein makes another appearance.

But what if the dog now eats the protein his body is sensitized to?

Activated mast cells and basophils will release histamine and other inflammatory chemical mediators (cytokines, interleukins, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins) into the surrounding tissue, causing several immune responses, such as vasodilation, mucous secretion, nerve stimulation and smooth muscle contraction.

This results in itchiness and anaphylaxis.

Depending on the individual dog, the allergen, and how it’s introduced, the symptoms can be system-wide (anaphylaxis), or localized to particular body system like the skin.

The Role Of Vaccines

For most viruses (like distemper and parvovirus), the virus itself needs to be grown and harvested to make the vaccine. This process begins with a small amount of virus, which needs to be grown in cells. Various types of cells can be used, including chicken embryos, calf serum, or other cell lines that reproduce quickly and repeatedly.

Once the antigen is grown, vaccine manufacturers try to isolate it from the cells. But proteins and other food particles can still be present in the vaccine. Then an adjuvant (a material that stimulates an exaggerated immune response) can be added, as well as stabilizers or preservatives.

Modern Research

Researchers are finding vaccinated children are developing allergies to gelatin (a common vaccine ingredient):

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The researchers added: “We reconfirmed a strong relationship between systemic immediate-type allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, to vaccines and the presence of specific IgE to gelatin.”

This is the same conclusion Charles Richet arrived at over 100 years ago. Robert S Mendelsohn MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Illinois warns, “No one knows the long term consequences of injecting foreign proteins into the body. Even more shocking is the fact that no one is making any structured effort to find out.”

Until the day comes when scientist, vets and doctors make an effort to learn more about how these injected foreign proteins cause allergies and many other auto-immune diseases in our dogs (and ourselves), it seems the best approach to food allergies in dogs is prevention.

Preventing Food Allergies

The best way to avoid food allergies is to avoid unnecessary vaccinations. This isn’t foolproof because even one well-timed vaccine can cause a lifetime of allergies in your dog. But the more you vaccinate, the greater the risk.

Grab this free download and find out if your dog is being vaccinated too often, putting him at risk for allergies and other vaccine-related health issues. This is critical information for any dog!

And next,  if your dog has existing allergies, know the difference between food allergies and food sensitivity (which is much more common).

And if it’s true allergy, you don’t have to turn to Atopica and immune-suppressing drugs! Homeopathy has a great track record when it comes to dealing with vaccine side effects. And you can find a great homeopathic vet at theavh.org who understands the true cause of allergies and inflammation and can help get your dog back on track.

But prevention is truly the best approach. Remember, every vaccine has the ability to cause not just food allergies, but other common inflammatory, immune-related diseases, including cancer. Make sure every vaccine you give your dog is absolutely necessary – check out the free guide, clean your dog of existing vaccine damage and heavy metals, and you’ll probably never have to worry about food allergies.