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Is my Border Collie Suffering from Allergies?

Q: Is my Border Collie Suffering from Allergies? PetPlanet Vets PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Hello.Recently,my Border Collie has become less tolerant to exercise.He is only 3 years old,but after walking(he chases a ball constantly),he coughs and occasionally retches sputum or even bile once.On one occasion,he was disorientated and stumbled a little.This only occurs after exercise and stops after 1-2 hours rest.Otherwise,he is fit and healthy(full of life!)I took him to see my vet,to rule out Kennel cough,or something more serious,and he said it was a reaction to inhaling an irritant,like pollen,which has caused congestion in his lungs and a wheeze.He has placed Scamper on Prednisolone 5 for 10 days and then will see him again.What I would like to know is what is the prognosis and danger of putting such a young dog on cortiscosteroids and is this likely to be necessary long term to maintain his quality of life?(He lives for his walks!)Also,every article that I have read concerning allergic reactions to things such as pollen have mentioned that the most common sign is itchiness or skin problems.Scamper has an excellent condition coat and no itchiness at all!He has had weepy eyes regularly,which have been treated as conjunctivitus and occasionally,his nose runs.When we walked him in the countryside the other day,in very long(8ft)grass and weeds,he had very red,itchy eyes,but we put this down to seeds irritating him.This coughing after exercise does seem to be worse when it is dry and humid(it rained today and when we returned from our walk,he did not cough once).Also,should I restrict his exercise to prevent any risk of oxygen deprivation and will a continual irritant cause any lasting damage?(I am wondering whether to stop exercising him on grass and take him solely to the beach instead?)(but if I do this,he chases seaweed in the water ,swallows too much saltwater and vomits!!!)Please help me to solve this problem of allergies(or if you think it is something else)as I am really worried about long term damage.Thanks.Kate.

A:Border Collie with Allergies PetPlanet Vets PPAdmin pettalk@petplanet.co.uk Dear Kate, I would urge you to go back to your own vet with your concerns, as it is impossible for me to say whether your dog has any chest disease without examining him. I can't be sure of the dosage of prednisolone you are giving, but an anti-inflammatory dose would be 0.5 - 1mg/kg/day. A border collie is about 20kg, so that would be up to four 5mg tabs/day. There are higher doses used for this drug, but these are immunosuppressive, and are used in auto-immune diseases and so on. At the anti - inflammatory dose, and for a ten-day period, your adult dog is unlikely to experience any significant side-effects. A common side-effect is increased thirst and urination. Over long periods of time and at high doses, steroids do suppress the immune system and cause disease. Allergic pulmonary disease it more common in the cat than in the dog, but it is a recognised condition, and as you say he is better when the conditions are slightly wet, and he does get runny eyes after running in long grass, then this sounds like a possibility to me. However, as I say, it would be best to discuss this with your own vet, as he may feel further tests such as radigraphs may be needed. Sarah Mark MRCVS (Vet for PetPlanet)

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