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I know this is a never ending topic but after reading one of the other posts, it got me thinking.

Can dogs have food allergies to something before they have ever been exposed to it?

The reason I ask is b/c I was reading over the "Turkey" post ... Cooper and Ava are highly allergic to Turkey but yet they have never had it. Cooper was allergy tested at 12 wks old and the test came back saying he is allergic to turkey amongst a few other things. But, he is okay with chicken.

Ava was allergy tested at 4 1/2 months old and her results ... I couldn't believe it! Heck, the Vet couldn't believe it either. So, back to my original question ... how can they be allergic to something when they have never had it before?
 

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It is not typical at all for an animal to be allergic to something it has never had. The way it works is that the animal consumes a protein and it's body sees the protein as "invaders" and creates antibodies toward the "danger." The next time the protein is eaten the reaction is worse and hystamine and other things are released causing allergic symptoms.....

Why would a vet allergy test a 12 week old puppy?? Both this and your dogs being allergic to a protein they have not consumed are confusing.

Cherri
 

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Hey Cherri, thank you for the reply! I too find it confusing that they could have such allergies to things they have never had before. As far as allergy testing a 12 weeks old puppy ... I haven't a clue. I actually use 2 Vets here in Birmingham and the one that did not do the testing said that you shouldn't do a food allergy test until the dog is at least 2 years of age. In my book there is a big difference in a 2 year old than a 12 week old puppy. I have considered getting them allergy tested again, more so getting Ava done to see if it comes back the same. Her test came back stating that she is allergic to the following: corn, chicken, beef, oat, barley, turkey, yeast and lamb!! I was speechless when I saw this.
 

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Well, traditionally, the thinking is that you can't. And vets tell you that. But now, most foods (especially grains) are genetically modified, we really don't know what we (and our dogs) are eating.

Genetic engineering may transfer new and unidentified proteins from one food into another triggering allergic reactions. Millions of Americans who are sensitive to allergens will have no way of identifying or protecting themselves from offending foods. Allergic reactions can cause more than simple discomfort-they can result in life-threatening anaphylactic shock. (Ref: Food and Drug Administration 57 Federal Register 22987)

For more analysis,
http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/ac/02/briefing/3886b1_Discussion%20Paper%20Allergenicity.pdf

I know the first time my dog ate barley, his ears lit up like a Christmas tree. But who knows if that barley is *just* barley anymore? But... he had a reaction. So I KNOW he was allergic.

On the other hand, your dogs were simply "tested" as being allergic? Did your dogs get ELISA blood tested? Have they ever had negative reactions to turkey (or whatever food) before? The reason that I ask is that the blood test isn't perfectly reliable. There are often false positives. So you can't trust any positive result in and of itself. (Negative results are supposed to be trustworthy). It has to be used with a food elimination diet (for foods) or skin prick tests (for environmental/inhalant allergies) to confirm your results.

(That's part of the reason why a lot of allergy specialists won't even do the blood tests anymore. They think they're a waste of time and money. I think they're useful as ONE of a SERIES of steps I need to take to eliminate allergens from my dogs life. But not the only one.)

Does that help?
 

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Yes, they can absolutely have allergies to something that they have never had.

I don't know the technical details, but some proteins contained in food are similar enough that the body can't sort them out. There are some herbs and fruit that share this, and I'm certain it's true in other circumstances.

I wouldn't have thought of it, but what 3K9Mom posted regarding GM foods is absolutely consistent with what I've read.

For a food test, we used the VARL blood test (which was a huge help) and then had to combine with an elimination trial. Dogs can be sensitive to things that they don't have a technical allergy to. My girl had food allergies at a young age too -- the only for us to go was a homecooked diet.
 
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