Most symptoms of environmental allergies in dogs are associated with dermatologic problems. Sometimes an owner will bring their dog to a veterinary appointment, suspecting a serious medical condition and end up finding out that their canine companion has an allergy.
Convenient and easy to do, a small sample of the patient’s blood is drawn and analyzed. It is then tested for a reaction to a vast array of geographical appropriate allergens, including:
Mites - house dust and grain
Insect proteins - house flies, mosquitoes, roaches
* For best results, dogs should be off all steroids and anti-histamines for at least a month before samples are drawn. Blood tests are much less invasive and time-consuming than intradermal skin tests. Blood tests are fast becoming the most popular form of allergy testing for atopy. As a veterinary dermatologist, Dr. Limpach is trained to read these results accurately.
INTRADERMAL SKIN TESTING
Intradermal skin testing is more invasive than blood testing. To perform skin allergy testing for dogs:
The patient is sedated
The patient is placed on its side
A large area on the patient’s side is shaved
Small needles inject tiny amounts of each test allergens in a specific pattern creating bumps. If the dog has an allergic reaction, the bump gets big and red. Positive reactions are graded on a scale of 1-4.
* After 10-15 minutes, the shaved area is examined to determine which allergens caused the reaction. Based on what the pattern indicates, Dr.Limpach can prescribe the most effective treatment. Skin testing can be 75% accurate, however, they can be inaccurate if patients have received antihistamines or steroids in the months leading up to testing.
TREATING ALLERGIES (ATOPY) IN DOGS
Allergies can be effectively treated & managed, but not cured. There are many types of treatment including oral medication, bathing, topical therapy, and even injectable antigen therapy. Allergy medicine for dogs may involve one or more of the following types of therapies:
CHOOSING THE BEST DOG FOOD FOR ALLERGIES
Some dogs suffer from adverse food reactions or food allergies. The best way to determine which one is to do an elimination diet. We change your dog’s diet to a prescription diet formulated for diet elimination trials. We can determine if your dog has either by prescribing one of the following strategies:
Limited/Novel ingredient diet: These are prescription diets formulated with 2 main ingredients.
Hydrolyzed protein diet: These diets are “pre-digested” so the proteins in the food are broken down into amino acid components.
Nutriscan test: This is a saliva test that checks for higher than normal amounts of immunoglobulins to 24 different common diet ingredients.
* It is important to remember that only 10% of all dog allergies are true food allergies. There are many diets that are pro-inflammatory which results in the more common adverse food reaction category. Changing your dog's diet to one that is specially formulated to be highly anti-inflammatory is like giving your dog "medicine" in a bag.