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Seasonal Allergies Part 3: Diagnosing Allergies

Adverse food reactions (a better name for food allergies) is ideally diagnosed by doing a

3-month elimination diet with novel proteins (a protein you dog or cat has never ingested) or a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet like Ultimino (by Royal Canin), Purina HA or Hills z/d. Best time to do these is winter when environmental allergens are low.

A controversial alternative is a saliva test called Nutriscan. Nutriscan is novel and patented and is not testing for food allergies, but rather tests for food sensitivities and intolerance. These are different body immune responses. Food allergy is a more immediate reaction mediated by production of IgE and IgG antibodies.

Food sensitivity and intolerance, by contrast, measures a more delayed body response to offending foods by measuring production of IgA and IgM antibodies primarily in mucosal secretions from the bowel.

Antibodies to IgA measure the immune response to certain foods in secretions like saliva that have occurred over the last 2 years. Antibodies to IgM measure the body's primary immune response to a recent exposure of certain foods within the last 6 months.

Angelcare Skin and Ear Clinic has had good success using this test to help determine the role food is playing in your pet's itchy skin disease.

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) and Atopic Like Dermatitis (ALD) is a diagnosis of elimination. This means we rule out or specifically treat and resolve all other causes of itchy skin and ear disease. Then, if your dog or cat are still exhibiting the symptoms of seasonal allergies, we diagnose them with Atopy or ALD. Skin testing and/or serum testing does not diagnose atopic disease. It identifies the environment allergens likely to be causing the symptoms. It is possible to have positive reactions to allergens being tested without them causing the clinical symptoms in your dog or cat.

For example, if your dog lives in Milwaukee, WI or Chicago, IL and has a +4 reaction to Palm trees or Bahia grass - unless you live in an indoor botanical garden, these pollens would not be causing your dog or cat to itch in Wisconsin or Illinois.

Read Part 4: Treating Allergies

Important Action Plan For Skin and Ear Disease Treatment:

Set up your appointment with Dr. Melodie Limpach if you think your pet is suffering from seasonal allergies, other types of allergy, or any skin condition that does not resolve in a couple of weeks. Angelcare Animal Hospital of Racine, WI can usually get your pet in for an exam within 48 hours of your call for help. If finances are limited, we accept Care Credit, Visa, MC, and Discover. We will also design a treatment plan that can work within your budget. The important action plan is to get your pet in sooner than later. The longer your pet is suffering from his skin or ear disease, the longer (and costlier) it will take to produce a happy and healthy pet. Call 262-886-3337 or book now for an appointment today.

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