Everything About Soy Allergies In Dogs (Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis)

Hypersensitivity to certain food types is a common issue faced by canines, and soy protein is a well-recognized allergen for dogs. In such allergies, the body starts treating soy protein as an allergen leading to hypersensitivity reactions like itching and a lot of distress for dogs.

Though you cannot get this cured, you can manage it through diet by minimizing their soy exposure and risks. So, to get you better prepared for such a stressful situation, given below is a detailed account of the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of soy allergies in dogs.

Symptoms of Soy Allergies In Dogs

Soy proteins found in commercial dog food can come in various forms like soy isoflavones, protein concentrates, grits, flour, meal, and germ meal. All of these can be harmful to a dog that's allergic to soy. 

As such, the most common symptom that presents itself is itchiness. Self-trauma and scratching resulting from it might often cause secondary infections.

Puppy scratching an itch

So, the symptoms of soy allergies are:

  • Non-seasonal, generalized itching that's usually resistant to corticoid.
  • Infections in the ear canal leading to excessive ear scratching and head shaking.
  • Secondary infections in the ear from yeast or bacteria.
  • Constant itching in the eyes leading to swelling.
  • Continuous licking adding to hair loss.
  • Excessive sebum discharge (called seborrhea).
  • Recurring pyoderma in dogs usually requires antibiotic treatment.
  • Self-trauma.
  • Inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting.
  •  Sneezing continuously.
  • Redness and soreness of the skin.

A soy allergy will rarely lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially lethal reaction that leads to a sudden dip in blood pressure, impairs breathing, and sends your body into shock.

Epinephrine is the only medicine that can treat such a severe condition. If the symptoms of anaphylaxis become apparent, epinephrine is administered through auto-injectors.

Understanding the Causes of Soy Allergies

Though soy allergy might get spotted in only some dog breeds, there is no evidence to suggest that such food allergies are specific to any age, sex, or species. Suppose any impairment to their mucosal barriers gets caused by illnesses like parvovirus, their risk factor for soy allergies increases.

Similarly, pets with other allergies like dermatitis are also at risk for other allergies. Using quality products from ussoy.org might be a viable solution in some cases.

British bull dog eating from red bowl

What Your Dog Eats

Diet is the main reason behind more than ten percent of dog allergies. This is because more than half of the white blood cells in your dog's body that protect them against illness and diseases are present in the digestive system.

In the digestive system, the protein gets broken down through digestion and turned into amino acids to get absorbed by the white blood cells. When soy protein does not get effectively broken down, it turns into allergens that cause significant immune responses.

The immune-mediated attack gets intensified over time, which further increases your pet's symptoms.

Diagnosis of Soy Protein Allergies in Pets

Dog with soy allergy biting his fur

Your veterinarian will start with a physical examination of your dogs' skin. Since soy allergy has similar reactions to flea dermatitis and atopic dermatitis, you'll need the vet's help to figure out the real cause here. 

To add to that, your vet might want to go for urinalysis, blood tests, and fecal sample analysis to exclude any underlying diseases that might have flared up because of the allergy.

The severe itching of the dog's skin (pruritus), has a particular distribution pattern that often points to the occurrence of food allergies in canines, along with non-seasonal skin irritation.

Veterinarian checking dogs ears with otoscope

Also, there are cases where chronic ear infection is the sole symptom.

Because intradermal and serologic testing isn't that reliable in most cases, the vets usually take diet elimination. A balanced and nutritionally complete diet, which only has ingredients previously not fed to the dogs, gets suggested by the vets.

Though homemade diets are the best solution for the treatment, these are pretty time consuming to make. Thus, ask your vet to recommend commercially available food.

Treatment of Soy Protein Allergy in Dogs

The treatment of soy allergies in dogs can take any one of the following three routes:

1. Diet

Clinical symptoms should go away within two weeks of following the elimination diet. Your dog needs a diet where soy gets eliminated by other protein sources for a long-term solution.

Also, it's important not to offer them any treats or foods during this time. Starches are generally safer. And take care of the purity of the foods so that they don't get any allergens. Always provide the dogs with simple homemade foods.

Golden Retriever taking allergy medication

2. Medication

Itching caused by any food allergy is usually resistant to corticoids, so this is not an effective treatment. Antibiotic therapy (antifungal) is the way to go when secondary infections from bacteria or yeast start coming up.

Antihistamines, ointments, and shampoos mainly made for itchiness can come to their rescue. But diet elimination is the most trusted route.

3. Added Care

Your veterinarian will also recommend other treatments like omega-3 fish oils known to be useful as an anti-inflammatory solution for itchy skin in dogs.

You might have to shampoo your dog with a quality oatmeal product. It will give your dog quite a bit of relief from all that itching from the allergy.

Recovering From Soy Protein Allergies

The fact is that there is still no cure for soy protein allergies. But you can manage it by removing soy protein entirely from your dog's diet. Your vet will suggest a nutritionally balanced and complete, commercially available diet that does not have soy proteins at all.

When it comes to the elimination diet, it's crucial to give your furry companion only the food suggested by your vet. It's vital to stay on guard for any flea hypersensitivity that might accompany soy protein allergies.

As a result, getting regular flea treatments for your dog is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Soy allergies in dogs are more common than you might think. It might not be curable, but it can be managed by following your veterinarian's advice. So, try not to worry. Just make sure to take your pet for regular vet checkups, and keep a close eye on their daily food intake.

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