While the origin of the Chow Chow is largely unknown, ancient sculptures discovered in northern China depict this powerful breed during the Chinese Han Dynasty (150 to 200 B.C.), according to the American Kennel Club. While breeders consider the Chow to be a healthy breed, the dog is prone to allergies.
Chows--Prone to Allergies
Allergies plague Chow Chows more than any other breed, according to the Daily Puppy, though allergen sensitivity varies between individual dogs. Allergy symptoms typically surface on the skin.
Common allergens include pollen, dust, flea bites, cleaning products and even cat dander. Grains, like corn and wheat, a common ingredient in commercial dry food, also cause allergic reactions in some Chows. Inhalant dermatitis or atopy describes allergies to substances that are inhaled, like dust, mold or pollen. According to Drs. Foster and Smith, atopy is the most common cause of allergies in canines, next to flea-bite allergies.
Symptoms include frequent scratching, paw chewing and licking, red or pink irritated skin, particularly inside the ears, between toes and paw pads, and on the stomach.
Immunotherapy Treatment for Allergies
The key to alleviating your Chow's allergies begins with allergy-testing. Once an allergy to a specific agent is identified, veterinarians can treat with immunotherapy or “hyposensitization injections” that expose the Chow to small doses of the allergen over time to build an immunity to the substance.
Two types of allergy-blood tests exist. A blood test screens for antigen-induced antibodies present in the Chow’s blood. The most common blood tests are called the radioallergosorbent or “RAST” type and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or “ELISA” test. Veterinarians prefer to use the ELISA test for more accurate results, according to Drs. Foster and Smith.
Once the veterinarian identifies the source of your Chow’s allergies, treating symptoms with immunotherapy, medication and removing the allergen from the dog’s environment or changing the dog’s diet follow as part of your Chow’s treatment and recovery plan.
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