You and your pet may have more in common that you think. No, we’re not talking about your mutual love for ice-cream, long walks on the beach and backrubs. Rather, we are talking about something more innate, like your health. According to Science Daily, humans are not the only mammals to suffer from food intolerance and allergies. According to a condensed paper produced by the University of Veterinary Medicine, your dog, cat and even horse are susceptible to developing allergies, as they too produce immunoglobulin E, the antibodies that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens. They are also responsible for Type I allergy symptoms, according to the paper’s lead author, Isabella Pali-Scholl.
Type I allergies most commonly present themselves in immediately-occurring and well-known symptoms such as hay fever, asthma and anaphylactic shock. Additionally, Type I allergies are responsible for food intolerance. The paper goes on to explain how food intolerance is extremely similar in humans and animals; however, in dogs, cats and horses, food allergies commonly start as skin reactions and then proceed to irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
Moreover, there is an overlap among the triggers of immune response to certain foods and ingredients. For instance, both pets and humans suffer severe allergic reactions to milk proteins, soy, peanuts, wheat, fish, eggs, meat and other common trigger foods.
This research wasn’t done to show humans that we have a lot more in common with our furry friends than we originally thought (though, now you can bond with your dog over your shared intolerance of all things dairy). Rather, the research was done to help us better understand animal allergies and to find a course of treatment that can help us ease the pain and discomfort they undoubtedly feel when those allergies kick in. One method that scientists introduced to cure food allergies and asthma is gene therapy.
Gene Therapy “Turns Off” Immune Responses
Imagine if you suffered from peanut allergies your whole life, or an intolerance to cheese, milk and all other dairy, or any other food allergy or intolerance that made it difficult for you to eat out or enjoy fine dining. But what if one day somebody told you that if you underwent a single, non-invasive treatment, you could stop living in fear of the trigger food and actually enjoy it? Would you do it? Of course you would!
Gene therapy is the cure that can do the impossible.
With a single treatment, your veterinarian can essentially “turn off” the immune response that causes an allergic reaction in your pets. The cure isn’t just a temporary fix, however, but can provide life-long protection from severe allergic reactions, including asthma. Such a discovery is huge!
The problem (up until recently, that is) is that asthma and allergy cells, known as T-cells, have immunities of their own. While they’re busy protecting you by keeping at bay allergens, they have their own protections in place that fight most allergy “cures.” This memory immunity makes those cells resistant to allergy treatments, which is why there has been no long-term fix for allergy sufferers.
Animals, those lucky furry creatures, can now undergo gene therapy to desensitize those gene cells and essentially “wipe” the memory of T-cells. Scientists hope to be able to apply this therapy to humans in the near future, allowing people who suffer from bee, peanut, shell fish and any other severe allergies to enjoy once off-limits foods once and for all. Though we’re not quite there yet, the leaps scientists have made in just a few short years is very promising indeed.
Work With United Veterinary Center’s Lab
If you want to help your pet overcome their food allergies and intolerances once and for all, head on over to out lab to see how we can help you help them. At the United Veterinary Center, we offer gene therapy for all pets, including cats, dogs, horses and any other mammals that happen to suffer from allergies. Call to schedule a consultation with your pet’s vet today!