How histamine affects your dog or cat
Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical in your pet’s body. It is released from mast cells when the immune system sees something as a threat. The mast cell walls break open which releases the histamine which then binds to receptors in the cells and this causes:
- the blood vessels to swell, causing itchiness, redness and rashes
- an increase in mucous (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes)
- the airways to narrow (wheezing)
All of these things are great when the threat is real, like a disease. They help to fight the disease in various ways.
But, if the perceived threat is a piece of grass or food or pollen, this can become a big problem. Because it is very difficult to isolate a dog or cat from these things.
This is what an allergy is – an immune response to something that isn’t actually a threat at all.
Why Allergex (Loratadine) works
Loratidine (Allergex) is a medication commonly prescribed for allergies. It works by binding to the same receptors that histamine binds to, but has the opposite effect. This results in a decrease in the allergy symptoms.
Side-effects of Allergex
The problem with Loratidine is that, like most pharmaceuticals, it has side-effects. These are mostly quite harmless – drowsiness (although Loratidine is much better than the predecessor anti-histamines), dry mouth, headaches. Other more serious side-effects such as amnesia, depression, pain and urinary incontinence have also occurred, although these are relatively uncommon.
Taking a natural approach
Citrus aurantium has been found to have a similar effect, but different mode of action to Loratidine. It doesn’t have the opposite effect of histamine, it just stops the histamine from being released in the first place. Histamine is stored in cells called mast cells. Citrus aurantium simply stops the mast cell walls from breaking open. This prevents the release of histamine.
So, there is no ‘opposite effect’, everything just stays the same. No headaches, no sleepiness. But also, no allergic response.