Does your pet need allergy testing?
Using allergy serum to treat your pet’s allergies can help decrease or even eliminate the more commonly used drugs with potentially serious side effects, as well as improve your pet’s quality of life. This treatment has a 70-90% success rate and needs to be continued long term, often for the life of your pet.
If your veterinarian recommends allergy testing for your pet, there are some steps you will want to follow to get the most accurate results. First, you will need to be sure your pet has not had certain medications just prior to the test. Ideal withdrawal periods (with some exceptions) for an intradermal allergy test are:
- 4 weeks off injectable steroids
- 1 – 2 weeks off oral glucocorticoids
- 1 – 2 weeks off topical ear, eye and skin medications, creams, sprays and shampoos with steroids
- 1 – 2 weeks off antihistamines (including Histacalm shampoo/spray and Resihist). Some behavior modification medications are antihistamines such as Clomicalm, Doxepin and Elavil (AKA amitriptyline)
You may bathe your pet up to the day of testing if the shampoo has no steroids in it. You may also use topical flea products such as Advantage, Frontline Topspot, or Revolution prior to the testing. If you are unsure if your pet’s medications need to be stopped prior to testing, please call our office.
What to expect the day of the test?
At the Animal Allergy & Ear Clinic, we combine the results of an intradermal test with a serological (blood) test to get the most accurate results. Typically the test is scheduled in the early afternoon. Your pet will be sedated for his or her comfort, so we ask that you do not feed or offer water to your pet the morning of the test. We will schedule an appointment for you to pick up your pet so we may explain the results, review questions you might have, as well as inform you of any medication you’ll need to give your pet.
A small area of skin on the side of the chest will be shaved and prepared. Then we inject a very small amount of 65 specifically chosen antigens including indigenous trees, grasses, weeds, molds, insects and dust mites within the layers of the skin. By the skin’s reaction, the doctor determines what your pet is allergic to. We also draw a sample of blood to send to an allergy reference laboratory. We’ll have results of the intradermal test that day, and the blood test results in approximately 14-21 business days.
When the blood test results come back from the laboratory, the doctor will formulate an allergy serum specifically for your pet. We will then set up an appointment with you to show you how to give the injections to your pet. These injections are practically painless as we use very small needles and inject only a small amount of allergy serum. Initially you will give the injection every third day, eventually spacing them out between 7 -14 days (or longer) depending on how your pet responds. You can have the injections done at our clinic or your primary veterinary clinic if you are unable to do it yourself. We can also ship the serum to you for your convenience.