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is a common cause of skin disease causing itchiness in dogs and cats. Atopic
skin disease is one common type of allergy and a reaction by an individual
animal to environmental aeroallergens such as pollens from grasses, weeds,
trees, mould spores and house dust mite. Dogs that are itchy are miserable.
Symptoms of allergy
The most common clinical sign of allergy is itching, most commonly involving the muzzle, around the eyes, ear flaps, armpits, groin and paws. Some dogs may have recurrent ear infections.
Diagnosis allergic skin disease
Intradermal allergy test:
The best way to identify a specific allergy to pollen, dust, mould or insects is to perform an intradermal allergy test.
This involves clipping a patch of hair from the side of the flank and pricking the skin with a tiny amount of purified allergen extract. A positive reaction is a raised swelling observed thirty minutes after intradermal injection.
Serological (blood) allergy testing:
We believe that by combining the results of the skin and serological testing that we can develop the most optimal allergy profile for your pet. This increases our chances of successful vaccine immunotherapy (desensitization).
There are several different ways allergy can be managed in order to keep your dog or cat comfortable.
Allergen specific immunotherapy with an allergy vaccine is the preferred method of treatment for canine and feline atopic dermatitis and involves using a vaccine that is made specifically for your pet on the basis of the skin and serum allergy test results.
How successful are allergy vaccines?
Allergy vaccines are successful in approximately 70% of dogs and cats with environmental allergic skin disease.
Referral for Intradermal Skin Testing:
Those patients being referred specifically for intradermal skin testing will need to have the following medications withdrawn prior to testing:
Oral corticosteroids (prednisone, etc) : 4 weeks
Short-acting injectable corticosteroids (dexamethasone, Vetalog) : 4-6 weeks
Long-acting injectable corticosteroids (DepoMedrol) : 8-12 weeks
Topical corticosteroids (including ear medications like Otomax) : 4 weeks
Antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec, etc.) : 2 weeks Amitriptylline (Elavil) : 2 weeks
Oral progestins (Ovaban, etc.) : 4 weeks
Intact female dogs must be out of heat for at least 4 weeks before allergy testing can be performed.