Allergies are a disorder of the immune system.
There are many things involved in immunity. It can be divided into two main categories:
- Positive Immunity is gained through exposure to pathogens. This can occur naturally, via exposure to disease, or artificially via vaccines.
- Negative or non beneficial immunity can be considered autoimmunity or allergies. Autoimmunity is when the body accidently attacks itself, such as when it attacks its own liver or kidneys. Allergies can be considered non beneficial (or negative) type of immunity because the body mounts an abnormally high immune response to something which should not normally be harmful, causing disease due to the immune response.
In the case of allergies, the body’s immune response can sometimes be tricked, by developing custom vaccines to the allergens the body is allergic to. By using very small doses of a tailor made vaccine the body can be taught to slowly become used to (desensitised to) the allergen.
The vaccines are usually given as small injections under the skin, typically once every 3 weeks. By using regular small doses via a different route (i.e. injection rather than inhalation) the immune system is tricked into getting used to the allergen. This is an option for dogs with multiple allergies, although is only available for certain types of allergies and should not be considered a complete solution for all problems.