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Canine Anxiety – Can allergies…or their cure be the cause?

Recenty I read this article by Dr. Nicholas Dodman about the possible link between food and aggression in dogs. In one of the cases he mentions, a food allergy was the culprit behind an onset of aggression. Although there is no scientific data to support this theory to date, one really only need be aware of effects food can have on the body to understand the wide ramifications that nutrition can have on a myriad of conditions, including behavior.

Looking further, it’s important to understand how allergies and drugs used to treat them can also affect behavior. Late this summer I got stung by a bee and accidentally consumed fish tainted with shellfish – both of which cause severe allergic reactions in me. I wasn’t aware until recently that panic, along with an upset stomach are classic symptoms of severe allergic reactions. (I am aware that allergies more often (but not always) manifest themselves in digestive disorders in dogs.)

This experience made me wonder about how dogs and other animals react when consuming foods or being exposed to severe allergens. Digestive upset often goes ignored and gets chalked up to sensitive stomach, but digestive disorders caused by allergies, unfortunately, left untreated can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, a serious condition that can be life threatening. But what about anxiety and panic? Both the sting and the shellfish caused severe anxiety and panic in me.

I’ve always used a homeopathic remedy for my bee stings in the past – and always with good resuts. This time, however, I didn’t have the remedy with me and I was unnerved enough to seek help at the ER. A dose of Prednisone and Benadryl was prescribed.

The following week, on the first day of vacation, I consumed the shellfish. Once again, I wound up in the emergency room, and this time was prescribed a much higher dose of Prednisone. On vacation and without access to alternative solutions, I did as the doctor ordered, and took the Prednisone, this time along with Zantac, a stomach medication with antihistamine properties. I did not want a delayed reaction and flare up of the potentially fatal allergy.

Fortunately, I’m still here! But along the way,. I developed a case of vertigo, experienced lightheadedness due to the effects of the Prednisone on my blood sugar levels, had to eat constantly in order to combat the fluctuations and gained weight, because of the food I was consuming and the water weight gain caused by the drug.  I also experienced more anxiety – another symptom caused by the medication. I started to wonder about the many, many animals I’ve seen and cared for, being treated with Prednisone, and wondered how they experienced these possible side effects, and what effects these had on their day to day quality of life.

When behavioral issues manifest themselves in our dogs, we need to take a really close look at not only what we’re feeding them, but all aspects of their environments.




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Posted in Action!, At home with dogs, Behavior, canine, common sense, home experiments, nutrition, Science, spirituality.

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