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What are Corn Allergies?
Corn allergies in dogs occur when dogs experience symptoms indicating a reaction to corn. Many dog foods contain corn, and when eaten, dogs have an allergic reaction that can present itself in several different ways.
Corn is one of the most popularly distributed plants worldwide. This plant has a rich history, dating back to the year 1492 as Christopher Columbus and his travelers entered into the “New World”. Today, corn has many effective uses; it is used in livestock feed, for biofuel, for oils and starches, and in industries as a raw material. Many families enjoy eating corn in their daily lives.
Often times, typical food allergies are caused by protein in the diet. However, some dogs are allergic to ingredients such as corn. Corn, or maize, is a common ingredient in many dog foods. Many dogs suffer from corn allergies as a result of an over reactive immune system to the product and exhibit many different side effects because of this allergy.
Symptoms of Corn Allergies in Dogs
Corn allergies in dogs presents itself like any other food allergy in dogs. Symptoms of corn allergy in dogs include:
- Skin irritation
- Biting of the Paws
- Obsessive licking
- Abdominal cramping
Besides corn, there are several different allergens in many varieties of dog food. Types of ingredients that can be allergens to your dog include:
Causes of Corn Allergies in Dogs
Causes of corn allergies in dogs begin with feeding your dog a specific dog food that contains corn or corn-product. Causes also include:
- Over reactive immune system which targets harmless agents within the body
- An environmental change or chemical imbalance within the gut
- Difficulty digesting certain food ingredients
- Being repeatedly exposed to what the body considers specific allergens
Diagnosis of Corn Allergies in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will assess your dog’s symptoms by taking a closer look at his skin and any other parts of his body that are showing a reaction. More than likely, your veterinarian will suspect that his symptoms are due to an allergy, but will have to dig deeper to find out the specific allergen. The medical professional will ask you a variety of questions pertaining to many types of environmental factors that your dog is exposed to on a daily basis. He may ask you questions about how often he stays outdoors, what types of plants he comes in contact with, where he likes to rest most of the time (to get a better picture of what types of surfaces his body touches most often), and specifically what is in his diet. These types of questions are the starting point to discovering precisely what is causing his allergic reaction.
Your veterinarian may perform several tests, such as blood work, a biochemistry profile, a urinalysis, and possibly a skin test. Skin tests, however, are usually performed once other treatment methods do not seem to be successful.
There are many conditions that may cause similar symptoms as a food allergy. Gastrointestinal issues, irritated skin, and other symptoms may be due to an underlying disorder, so the veterinarian will need to perform any test in which he feels are necessary to rule out any illnesses. One important characteristic of food allergies is that the symptoms are not “seasonal” and occur year-round. This will help the veterinarian rule out any seasonal allergies once other conditions are dismissed.
If your veterinarian suspects a food allergy, he will give you specific instructions on how to figure out the specific food item that is causing your dog distress. He may suggest an elimination diet, which must be followed very closely according to the veterinarian’s instructions and does take several weeks before the offending ingredient is discovered.
Treatment of Corn Allergies in Dogs
Treatment of corn allergies in dogs occurs simultaneously with finding a diagnosis. Searching for the specific allergen may be referred to as a diagnostic testing situation rather than treatment. This will depend on your veterinarian’s outlook. Treatment of corn allergies in dogs includes:
If your dog has a skin irritation or inflammation the veterinarian may choose to bathe him in a hypoallergenic shampoo that will help ease his discomfort. He may also apply any topical creams in which he feels are necessary.
The veterinarian may give you instructions on how to properly perform an elimination diet. Elimination of several foods that may be the culprit of his allergies is the only effective way to figure out which ingredients are affecting your pet. This diet contains ingredients that your dog has not eaten before and over several weeks you will be asked to introduce specific ingredients to the diet to see how your dog responds. This elimination diet may take a few months because even though you are feeding your dog new foods with new ingredients during the trial, he may still have the stimulation of his immune system for a few weeks. Even pet chews and bones are not to be given during this time.
Allergy medications, such as topical creams for the skin, may help your dog with any itching and burning sensations on the skin. Any medications are temporary to help ease his pain for the time being. It is important to not “mask” the allergy symptoms, but to find the offending source that is causing the allergies.
Recovery of Corn Allergies in Dogs
Once you find that your dog is allergic to corn, it will be very important to avoid all corn and corn ingredients in order to keep your dog allergy-free. You may need to do research on specific dog foods that do not contain any traces of corn and corn products. With the help of your veterinarian, you will eventually find the food that is corn-free to feed your dog on a regular basis.
Many dogs that have corn allergies are able to live a stress-free and allergy-free life with the removal of this ingredient. Although you have removed corn from the diet, it will be important to watch your dog for any new symptoms of any new allergies. Luckily, there are many hypoallergenic foods on the market today to help with this issue. You may also choose to feed your dog a raw food diet, but it is important to be sure you talk to your veterinarian before doing so in order to give your dog a balanced, nutritional diet.
Cost of Corn Allergies in Dogs
Corn Allergies can be an expensive treatment in dogs and can range from $200.00 to $800.00 depending on the cost of living and severity of your Dog's corn allergies. On average, the national cost of treating corn allergies in dogs is $400.00.
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The statements expressed are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified by your local veterinarian.