Pup's Allergies Acting Up? Turmeric or JAK-inhibitors - You Decide!

Pup's Allergies Acting Up? Turmeric or JAK-inhibitors - You Decide!

There has been an increase in food allergies affecting dogs leading to issues related to their skin and digestion. These allergic responses occur when a dog’s immune system reacts to ingredients in their diet.


The Normal Functioning of a Dogs Digestive System


A dog’s intestinal lining serves three purposes: prevent penetration of ingested antigens, promote degradation of ingested antigens, and facilitate the secretion of ingested antigens. However, when dealing with food allergies the immune system generates an antibody called IgE that binds to cells.


Understanding the Allergic Reaction Process


Upon re-ingesting the food these IgE coated cells release chemicals that spark inflammation. This reaction happens swiftly within minutes of consuming the allergen. Over time these allergies can contribute to conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.


Common Culprits for Food Allergies


Ingredients like beef, pork, poultry, and dairy are frequently identified as triggers for dog allergies. Enough of these allergic responses can appear at any point during a dog’s life from weaned puppies to old dogs whose feed composition was never changed.

How can you identify signs and symptoms of allergies in dogs?

Dogs with allergies may show signs like itching and scratching around their ears, paws, and belly. They might also have skin, hair loss or infections. In the case of food allergies dogs could have problems such as vomiting, diarrhea or weight loss.


Treating food allergies often involves using medications such as corticosteroids, antibiotics, or specialized drugs (Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK-inhibitors – Apoquel tablets, Cytopoint injection)); however, these treatments are associated with many side effects.

Due to the risk of side effects from conventional Western medicine and the request from some pet owners for alternative therapies, a combination of acupuncture, phytotherapy and nutrition was applied in a research study with fourteen dogs.


The research study conducted by Michál’ova A and colleagues published in Animals, 2022, 12:1832: Comparative study of classical and alternative therapy in dogs with allergies, divided them into two groups: one receiving western treatment and the other undergoing acupuncture, herbal therapy, and nutrition.

All the dogs that were included in the study are represented in the table below.

In the first group of dogs, diagnostics were performed based on principles of traditional Chinese medicine consisting of Yin-Yang and five-element theories. The treatment comprised acupuncture, phytotherapy and nutrition. Their diets were adjusted based on weather conditions.

Diagnosis and treatment in the second group were performed in a standard manner. According to the symptoms, type, and severity of the allergic manifestation in the animal, antibiotics, corticosteroids, and Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK-inhibitors) were applied as therapy. All dogs were fed a hypoallergenic diet.

Table 1: Clinical symptoms before therapy, and condition after application of acupuncture and phytotherapy in the first observed group.


The statistical analysis comparing individual hematological parameters before and after therapy revealed statistical significance for eosinophils, leukocytes, and neutrophils.

The statistical analysis of the comparison of individual biochemical parameters before and after therapy revealed statistical significance for serum concentrations of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and pancreatic lipase (LPS). Deviations in other biochemical parameters were statistically insignificant.

Table 2: Clinical symptoms before therapy and after treatment applied to the second group of dogs.

The individual hematological parameter in the second group of dogs revealed statistical significance for eosinophils and leukocytes. The other hematological parameters were not significantly different.

The statistical analysis of the comparison of individual biochemical parameters before and after therapy showed significant differences in serum concentrations of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and total cholesterol (TC).


Although both groups showed improvement signs the acupuncture group experienced side effects. Their skin and blood tests also displayed changes suggesting that exploring treatments could benefit dogs with food allergies.

In terms of dog food allergies can cause skin and digestive issues. There are diverse ways to treat them including traditional medicines and alternative options, like acupuncture and herbal remedies.


Here is a summary of what the study found.

There are many cases of allergies in dogs that can cause a hypersensitivity reaction to pollen, mites, or a particular food ingredient. Typical symptoms of food allergy are itching and changes in the skin, which may be accompanied by symptoms in the gastrointestinal system. As skin problems tend to be treated symptomatically, in most cases corticosteroids are the first and the most rapid therapeutic choice, which is unfortunately not always advantageous for the animal. Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK-inhibitors) are another therapeutic option used in conventional Western medicine that, in most cases, stops pruritus but does not solve the problem. In addition to the characteristic clinical findings in dogs with hypersensitivity reactions, there are often corresponding findings of hematological and biochemical parameters. Many authors using blood tests in allergic patients describe the occurrence of eosinophilia.

The observations made in this study cannot be presented as unequivocal and comprehensive instruction in solving the problem of allergy in dogs. The aim of this study was to show and pay attention to the existence of alternative diagnostic and therapeutic treatment methods that have been used in the past and which are becoming extremely popular nowadays. According to much worldwide research on traditional therapeutic methods, such as acupuncture, phytotherapy and others, which have been used for centuries, such practices are also greatly beneficial in the treatment of allergies. If these non-invasive methods are used properly, they can significantly improve or even stabilize many health problems and diseases with minimal side effects. Alternative options are safe, without the risk of side effects, and they do not harm the body. They can be used separately or in combination with other therapies; and they can be used as an independent or complementary therapy for both animals and humans.