Oral drops can be as effective as injections for treating dog skin allergies, a new report has suggested.
Just like humans, dogs' skin can become inflamed if they come into contact with traditional allergens such as house dust, pollen and mould.
These allergies can be treated through immunotherapy, which sees small doses of the allergen administered to the patient through either oral drops or shots to train the immune system to tackle the condition.
A new US study aimed at determining whether drops were as effective at treating allergies as shots tested the products on a total of 217 dogs with skin allergies.
The team found that the skin condition of around 60 per cent of the dogs, who were given two doses of the drops a day, improved significantly. A similar proportion of animals would expect to benefit from fortnightly allergy injections.
Douglas DeBoer, chief author of the new study and a professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, even claimed there are certain advantages to using the drops.
As the drops act in a different way to shots, they even helped dogs who had not improved after receiving injections. Furthermore, dogs that suffered an extreme anaphylactic reaction to shots did not do so when administered drops.
"Drops appear to be safer than shots in this respect," Professor DeBoer said, adding that many dogs even consider them to be as delicious as premium dog food.
He stated: "The drops have a slightly sweet flavour, so most dogs actually like them. Owners say their dogs consider them a treat and run toward them when they hear the bottle being opened. With the needle, they learn to run away."
There are also benefits for owners, according to the professor.
"A lot of owners are needle-shy, and would never consider giving allergy shots, and may not even have the dog evaluated for that reason," he said.
"Now there is an option that is very user-friendly."
The study was presented at the World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Vancouver, British Columbia.