Ask the OnCall+ Experts: Allergies

Your Allergy Questions Answered

Question: This question is for Dr. Marty Becker. When you were on the show, you were about to tell us about a fatty acid supplement for dog allergies but got interrupted. What it the supplement? I have a guide dog that is suffering from allergies. Please Help!

Answer: When it comes to fatty acid supplements, not all products are -- as they say -- "apples to apples." It's easy for a company to put veterinary-approved on a label but much harder to pass the rigorous tests and trials that would actually cause a veterinarian to prescribe one product.

In the veterinary practice I work at, we recommend a product called Dermcaps from Dermapet. Ask your vet which product, if any, is best for your itchy pet. Just know that if the fatty acid supplements don't work, your veterinarian has many more itch/scratch/lick-busting tools available. Your pet's itching can and should end soon.

- Dr. Marty Becker, Veterinarian and Adjunct Professor, Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

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Question: For many years now, both my husband and I have a suspicion that I may have Celiac disease and would like to know what test or tests we should make inquiry of when presenting this idea to my physician.

Answer: Research has shown that it can take from 12 months to 9 years on average for a patient who has chronic bowel complaints to be diagnosed with celiac disease. This means that physicians should consider the diagnosis in patients with undiagnosed bowel or other complaints. Although there are a number of blood tests called 'serologic screening" tests for celiac disease, none of the blood tests are definitive.

Experts agree that an intestinal biopsy and a good response to a gluten-free diet is essential to make the diagnosis. That means every person who may have the diagnosis should have an intestinal biopsy of the small intestine which will show typical abnormalities found only in celiac patients. The person should also try a gluten-free diet which will help the symptoms considerably if the diagnosis is correct.

Warm regards,

Dr. Marie Savard, ABC News Medical Contributor

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Do you want to know more about seasonal allergies, food allergies, drug and bug reactions, sinusitis and more? Visit the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Allergy Center to get all your questions answered.

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