Because of cost and convenience issues, most pets with early or mild allergies are best treated on a symptomatic basis. This usually involves a combination of allergen avoidance, omega fatty acids, antibiotics, antifungals and antihistamines. This treatment approach will be entirely satisfactory for many pets. However some will worsen over time despite traditional symptomatic treatments. These pets are often good candidates for allergy testing and Hyposensitization Therapy.
When to Consider Allergy Testing
Allergy testing for pets does not diagnose allergies – we already know the pet in question is allergic. Instead, the purpose of allergy testing is find out exactly what the pet is allergic to. Once that is known, the pet can be kept away from the allergens (if feasible) and a specific, customized allergy serum can be prepared for use in Hyposensitization Therapy.
Allergy testing (by blood testing or skin testing) should be considered for dogs and cats that experience allergy symptoms for four months or more out the year, for those that aren’t responding well to traditional treatments, or for those that need frequent or high-dose corticosteroid therapy to maintain control.
Note: At this time neither blood allergy testing nor skin allergy testing are useful for food allergies.
Allergy Treatment or Hyposensitization Therapy
After the specific offending antigens are identified by allergy testing, an allergy injection serum or "allergy shot" can be developed and given to the patient. With this treatment, very small amounts of the antigen are injected weekly. This repeated dosing has the objective of reprogramming or desensitizing the immune system. In our hands, success rates with this approach have been very good, although there are a few pets that have had disappointing results. Approximately fifty-percent of treated dogs will see significant improvement in their clinical signs while approximately twenty-five percent more will see a decrease in the amount or frequency or corticosteroid and antibiotic usage. Results in cats are similar, but more variable because, well, cats are cats.
To find out if allergy testing and Hyposensitization Therapy might be right for you and your pet, please speak with your Veterinarian or a hospital representative.
To make an appointment, please call Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in McKinney at 972-529-5033 or Preston Road Animal Hospital in North Dallas at 972-239-1309. You may also login online.