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Belle’s allergy to dairy products!

13 July 2016

Belle, a lovely Golden Retriever puppy, was acquired at 14 weeks old and it didn’t take long for her to settle in to her new home. Unfortunately, it also didn’t take long for a problem to develop, and Belle started frantically itching around her legs, ears, feet and tail within days. This seemed strange to her owners, as she appeared healthy otherwise, and was eating and drinking well, and appeared playful and very lively! Worryingly, the itching continued, and Belle also started to develop red and swollen eyes. She was taken to her local vets who prescribed eye drops and a cream to settle her skin. These medications helped, but her signs soon came back after medications were stopped.

Due to Belle’s young age, she was referred to Willows. Belle was initially seen by Willows eye Specialist Carolin Chiwitt and dermatology Specialist Jon Hardy. Carolin diagnosed conjunctivitis, but luckily did not find evidence of a more serious eye disease. Jon examined Belle’s skin and confirmed that her skin problems were confined to her paws, legs, ears and tail base. Knowing that young dogs often pick up parasites and infections, samples were taken from her skin and coat, but no parasites or infections were found. Jon then suspected an allergy, and focused initially on food allergy as this is sometimes found in very young dogs. Belle was started on a special prescription diet called a ‘hydrolysed diet’, which contains food items that are too small to trigger an allergic reaction. She was also started on more eye drops to treat the conjunctivitis.

Belle ate the diet strictly, with no treats and no titbits for 8 weeks and then returned to Willows for a re-examination. At this appointment, she had made an incredible improvement, and all her skin lesions had resolved! She was also happy and bouncy and her eyes were no longer sore. Jon suspected that the improvement was due to the diet, but to test the theory, recommended putting Belle back onto her old diet to see if itching returned. The owner did this over the following weeks, but itching didn’t immediately return. It did return though when Belle was given a well-known spreadable cheese! Thinking back, the owner then remembered that Belle had been used to having a cup of milk most days prior to coming to Willows – it therefore seemed that Belle had a food allergy to dairy products!

We are pleased to report that Belle has been doing very well since discovering her allergy and her owner has kindly emailed us these pictures showing her now. She won’t be having any more cheese or milk in the near future!


Belle has been doing very well since discovering her allergy


Belle has been doing very well since discovering her allergy


Belle has been doing very well since discovering her allergy


To find out more about pet allergies please see our Food Allergy Information sheet