Allergy Testing for Pets: Do You Need to Consider It?
Pets who suffer from allergies can have it pretty rough. While some animals might have an annoying few weeks during ragweed season, others can have symptoms that last for a large portion of the year.
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital is all too familiar with managing allergic pets. In fact, patients suffering from allergy symptoms are frequent flyers in our exam rooms much of the year. While there is no one-size-fits all treatment for every pet affected, there are some standard diagnostics and treatments that are often done.
Read on to learn about allergy testing for pets and whether your furry friend is a good candidate.
Allergy Testing for Pets: What You Need to Know
When our doctors recommend allergy testing for pets, it’s because we are suspicious that a pet may be suffering from atopy. Atopy is a genetic predisposition to allergic responses to environmental allergens. In dogs and cats this primarily manifests as allergic skin disease.
When allergy testing is performed at our hospital, a blood sample is taken and evaluated for antibodies against common environmental allergens. Substances with a high number of antibodies typically are the ones that the body is forming serious allergic responses to.
When a pet’s allergies are identified, the results may be a little disappointing. Many pets who are tested are allergic to many things, and very rarely can those things be eliminated from the environment.
The value of allergy testing comes in the ability to use this information to develop personalized vaccinations for the pet. This treatment, called immunotherapy, can help the pet’s immune system to become more tolerant of allergens in the environment.
Signs Your Pet Needs Tested
So why don’t we just test any pet who appears to have allergies? Unfortunately, immunotherapy isn’t perfect. About 25% of pets don’t have a positive response to treatment, and it can take up to a year to see results. For pets who immunotherapy is helpful for, though, results can be dramatic.
So how do you know if you should be thinking about allergy testing for your pets? Good candidates for allergy testing include:
- Pets who suffer from allergy symptoms all or part of the year.
- Animals who have repeat skin, ear, or anal gland infections.
- Patients who have undergone strict hypoallergenic food trials without improvement (pets with food allergies will not respond to treatment well).
- Pets with severe allergy symptoms.
- Pets who are likely to tolerate injections (most pet owners are very capable of giving immunotherapy injections).
Allergy testing for pets can be an integral part of managing allergic skin disease. At this time there is no cure for allergies in pets. Immunotherapy may be the closest thing that we have to teaching the body to tolerate things in the environment that cause trouble.
If you think that your pet might be a good candidate for allergy testing, please contact us. We are more than happy to answer your questions or schedule an allergy consultation appointment.
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital:
Where big city medicine and surgery meet small town customer service and value.