What to do for a dog with severe allergies
Skin allergy testing for dogs is another form of allergy testing used by veterinarians and veterinary dermatologists today. Skin allergy testing is more invasive than blood allergy testing, because it requires sedation due to the length of time the patient needs to be still.
To act out skin allergy testing for dogs:
- The patient is sedated
- A little area on the patient’s side is shaved
- The patient is placed on its side
- Small needles inject tiny amounts of each test allergen just under the patient’s skin in a specific pattern and order so that if the dog shows a little raised reaction, the allergen causing it can be identified
After a period of time (usually a few hours), the shaved area is examined to determine which allergens elicited a reaction.
Based on what the pattern indicates, a veterinarian and/or veterinary dermatologist can prescribe the most effective treatment protocol. Skin allergy testing for dogs has been estimated to be upwards of 75% precise in determining the presence of dog allergies. However, skin allergy tests can be inaccurate if patients own received antihistamines or steroids in the months leading up to testing. Your veterinarian can assist determine if skin allergy testing is appropriate and will yield precise results for your canine friend.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
While not generally life threatening, allergies in dogs do cause discomfort. Most symptoms are associated with dermatologic problems but some can also lead to chronic respiratory issues in some dogs if untreated for endless periods of time.
Sometimes an owner will bring their dog to a veterinary appointment, suspecting a serious medical condition and finish up finding out that their canine companion has an allergy.
Here are some allergy symptoms commonly found in dogs:
- Excessive licking
- Frequent sneezing and/or wheezing
- Compulsive scratching
- Periodic chewing on the same or diverse body parts or areas
- Regularly rubbing body or body parts against the ground, walls, furniture, etc.
- Skin irritation/fur loss
Most allergies develop in the second year of life for dogs.
In the first year, the dog will be exposed to numerous types of allergens primarily through contact with the skin. A smaller number of allergies may be caused by food (usually the protein source) and inhalant (things they breathe in that are in the air). In the second year of life, the dog’s immune system will overreact to the antigen(s) causing release of immune cells which release inflammatory substances ( such as histamine) which lead to symptoms of itching. Rarely is a dog allergic to just one thing.
Most allergic dogs are born with a less than optimal skin barrier which allows for antigens to enter the skin more easily. Dogs that suffer from allergies own abnormal skin and a less than optimal immune response which allows for secondary infections to happen.
Typically, dogs do not suffer from a single allergy, but instead, dogs with sensitivities to allergens own a host of issues. You must understand that dog allergies are due to a complicated set of issues that tends to change as the dog’s environment changes.
Because these symptoms can own several possible causes, we recommend making a veterinary appointment immediately if you notice your dog exhibiting any of the above symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment of dog allergies not only increases the likelihood of your dog’s treatment being successful, but can also be less expensive than delaying treatment. The longer you wait, the more your dog suffers and more severe the secondary infections can become.
There Are Two Main Types Of Dog Allergy Testing
Blood Testing and Intradermal Skin Testing. Each type of canine allergy testing istered differently and has its benefits and drawbacks. However, the following points hold true for both types of dog allergy testing:
- Chronic bacterial infections (common secondary invaders)
- Fungal or yeast infections of the skin (common secondary invaders)
A veterinarian might also order a 12 week hypoallergenic diet to law out a food allergy.
Food allergies are hard to detect using either dog allergy testing method, and therefore should be sure through dietary manipulation. Once every of these possibilities are ruled out, the veterinarian will order either a blood or skin test to determine the presence of dog allergies.
What Causes A Dog To Develop Allergies?
Think of dogs skin love saran wrap. It covers and protects the dog. However, dogs with allergies are born with abnormal skin (like holes in the saran wrap). These abnormalities in the skin permit for the allergens, which are normal in every environments, to enter thru the skin layer and set off an allergic response which causes itching and redness.
So, it is significant to understand that dogs who suffer from contact allergies do not own normal skin. Additionally, these dogs do not own a healthy immune response.
In addition, this inflammation in the skin will change the health of the skin and permit for secondary invaders such as bacteria and yeast to enter the dog’s system. In addition, numerous of these dogs own a less than optimal local immune response to these secondary invaders making them more susceptible to yeast and bacterial infections. Yeast and bacteria are always present in low numbers on every dog’s skin.
Unfortunately for dogs with allergies, their skin and immune response are inadequate to fight off these secondary invaders.
Blood Allergy Testing
Blood allergy testing is the most common form of allergy testing because it is convenient and simple to do. To act out a blood allergy test, a little sample of the patient’s blood is drawn and analyzed. It is then tested for a reaction to a vast array of geographically appropriate allergens, including:
Blood allergy tests can also determine food allergies, as well as allergic reactions to materials love cotton or nylon. Blood tests are much less invasive and time consuming than skin allergy tests.
Blood tests are the most commonly used dog allergy test.
Dog Allergy Testing
The first step to determining the cause of your dog’s symptoms is a thorough exam by your veterinarian. In addition to looking for external skin parasites such as fleas and mites, your veterinarian will desire to do some diagnostics to assist him/her determine what types of infections may be present.
After diagnosing and treating for external parasites and infections, your veterinarian may desire to discuss allergy testing. Once your veterinarian believes that allergies are the root cause of skin irritation/infections and discomfort, then they may recommend testing for specific allergens. There are numerous things to test for in determining what your dog may be causing the allergies for your dog. Dog allergens drop into the following groups:
- Food allergies — including diverse types of proteins
- Contact allergy — including numerous grasses and plants, dust mites and molds
- Flea allergies — numerous dogs are highly allergic to flea bites
- Inhalant allergy (Atopy) — allergens that are inhaled
Contact allergies such as flea, food and dust/pollen allergies are by far the most common cause of allergies in dogs.
These allergens can cause an allergic reaction in the body that focuses largely on and within the epidermis, causing severe irritation. The result is a dog scratching itself to the point that skin infections and injuries can occur.