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Allergies that Plague Bulldogs

Bulldogs are prone to some health problems and allergies that may arise from a variety of sources. Allergies in bulldogs could either be due to environmental influences or food.

It is necessary to recognize if your dog is sensitive to some environmental factors or food. Knowing this will help you prevent and/or deal with the hypersensitivity reaction when it occurs.

Allergies will manifest in different ways, however, there are some symptoms that are characteristic of allergic reactions.

These include:

- Itching (especially of the skin)

- Inflammation(swelling) and redness

- Chewing and/or licking of paws

- Sneezing

- Digestive upset e.g. diarrhoea, vomiting

Types of allergies

1. Food allergy

This results from a reaction to a component in food. The food component the dog is allergic to is known as the ‘allergen.’ Bulldogs may react to various substances in food such as low quality grains or some types of proteins.

This allergy manifests as excessive itching of the skin, chewing of the feet and licking. The dog may also experience bloating, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Such allergies resolve soon after the offensive food is withdrawn. Bulldogs should be fed on high quality food that is hypoallergenic.

2. Flea allergy dermatitis

This is caused by a flea bite. The saliva of flea contains a substance known as hapten that reacts with collagen in the dog’s skin causing a hypersensitivity reaction.

The affected area is usually red, inflamed and the dog will bite and scratch the skin. The skin may also have some wheals and they may be infected by bacteria.

This kind of allergy is prevented by ensuring that the dog is free of fleas. There are good preparations in the market to deal with fleas in bulldogs such as Frontline plus™ and Advantix™.

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3. Canine atopic dermatitis

This is seen in bulldogs sensitive to environmental allergens such as spores and dust. This type of allergy will manifest early in life and affects the skin causing itching, chewing and licking of paws. The ears may also be inflamed and show signs of redness.

This condition is usually controlled through use of dietary supplementation and drugs.

4. Inhalant allergy

This arises from inhalation of allergens such as pollen, dust mites and moulds. Bulldogs suffering such allergies will sneeze and may itch in some parts of the body. Bulldogs are short and thus are likely to encounter many irritants especially those present on the ground and in the grass.

5. Contact allergy

This is a hypersensitivity reaction that results after the bulldog comes in contact with the allergen. Such allergens may be substances that include certain chemicals, grass and plants.

Allergies to environmental allergens are a common cause of chronic dermatitis in bulldogs. Allergic reactions may be remedied in various ways:

- The animals should be removed from the source of the allergen. If this is not possible then measure can be taken to reduce the exposure of the dog to the allergens.

- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as antihistamines and corticosteroids. The dosage and frequency of administration of the drugs will vary on how serious the reaction is.

- There are vaccines available some allergens such as pollen and dust.

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