As for humans, an increasing number of pets and other animals suffer from allergies. Causes include aggravating environmental pollution, allergy-causing substances in feed and medication, chemicals in detergents and cleaning agents and many others.
In general, any substance can trigger allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can be triggered by substances in their environment that otherwise have no effect on other healthy animals. These foreign substances are also called allergens or antigens.
Allergen contact usually takes place via the skin, the respiratory tract, the gastro-intestinal tract, by ingestion or injection.
Allergic symptoms can be very variable: distinct skin problems, non-treatable ear infections, gastro-intestinal conditions (vomiting, diarrhoea or flatulence) or chronic bronchitis.
In a medical sense, allergies are the body’s overreaction to environmental substances. The organism’s natural defence against intruders is out of control and malfunctions. The immune system is no longer capable of distinguishing harmful and harmless substances. The body defends itself against harmless substances with an allergic reaction.
Fundamentally, a genetic predisposition frequently precedes an allergy, but any animal can develop an allergy. The precondition for the development of allergy is a malfunctioning immune regulation.
About 80% of the immune system is connected with the intestines. It protects the organism from pathogens and degenerated cells.
Bacteria, incorrect and non-species appropriate food, toxins, medication or worm therapies disrupt the intestinal flora. “Good germs” are damaged while “bad” ones spread. The body is no longer able to properly counteract harmful substances. The intestinal wall becomes more permeable, inflamed changes occur and toxic metabolic products are produced.
Flatulence, burping, intestinal cramps and malodorant, slimy stool are symptoms indicating a weak and distorted intestinal flora. If the intestines are weakened, the immune system gets weaker, too. As a result, excessive defence reactions develop, i.e. allergies.
The most frequent allergies suffered by animals are:
- atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema)
- allergic reactions to flea saliva
- feed allergies/intolerances
- allergic reactions to feed mites
- allergic reactions to house dust mites
- allergic reactions to pollen
- allergic reactions to mould
For some allergens contact can be avoided, others (such as house dust mites or pollen) cannot. In these cases, medicinal mushrooms can alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for animals suffering from these allergies.
Key mushrooms in the treatment of allergies are Reishi and Hericium. Reishi reduces histamine release, which eases allergic reactions significantly. Its cortisone-like effects alleviate dermal and mucosal inflammations. It strengthens lung and heart, and thus positively influences the body’s supply with oxygen, which is important for all those who suffer from allergic asthma.
Hericium promotes the establishment of a sound intestinal mucosa, which keeps allergy-causing feed-borne substances from passing the intestinal walls easily. This is particularly beneficial in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and feed allergies. Polyporus is supportive for strengthening a weakened lymphatic system, counteracting contact allergies and atopic eczemas. Pleurotus encourages probiotic bacteria colonisation in the gastro-intestinal mucosa, which is supportive after antibiotic treatments.
The effects described are based on the ingestion of medicinal mushroom powder which is prepared from the whole mushroom. Please seek advice from your animal therapist before using.