ALLERGY DIAGNOSIS, SKIN TESTING AND MANAGEMENT
Allergy diagnosis and Management:
Our veterinary dermatology department, in Lynnwood, WA, has extensive experience with treating allergies. Year-round or seasonal itching is likely due to allergies. Signs of allergies often start as itching, and the first signs may be to chew, bite, scratch or lick. Red skin and hair loss are common. Blackened and thickened skin that looks like elephant skin are symptom’s of a long duration of uncontrolled disease. Infections from bacteria and yeast are common with allergies as the immune system is not responding properly to fight the organisms normally found on the skin. In addition, dogs that chew, bite, scratch and lick disturb the top layer of skin that protects against infection. Licking and chewing can also lead to a warm moist environment, which bacteria and yeast thrive in.
The two most common types of allergies are food and/or environmental allergies. A food trial with a prescribed diet is required to diagnose food allergies and our specialists can walk you through this process. If there is still itching at the end of the food trial or a pet has seasonal allergies, a diagnosis of environmental allergies is made. Environmental allergies are to dust, dust mites, grasses, weeds, and/or trees.
Our team can perform allergy skin testing +/- serum allergy testing to formulate an allergy shot specific to your allergic pet. This is the only specific and the safest option for treating environmental allergies. If allergy shots are not a good option or while we are waiting for the shots to work, our dermatology department is specialized in all the options for symptomatic therapy to keep your pet comfortable.
Allergies cannot be cured, but they can be controlled with our goal of keeping your pet comfortable and happy for a long time.
Allergy skin testing and shots (immunotherapy):
Our dermatology team, in Lynnwood, WA, has years of experience in allergy testing and formulating allergy shots. Below are a few answers to commonly asked questions regarding allergy shots.
What is allergy skin testing?
• It is also known as intradermal allergy testing and is a procedure that allows us to determine what in the environmental is causing your pets symptoms.
• This information is used to formulate an allergy shot to help control the allergies.
• If the skin test is not a good option or inconclusive, a blood test may be recommended.
What is an allergy shot?
• It is a vaccine that contains the environmental allergens that were positive on the skin and/or blood (serum) tests.
Will the vaccine cure the allergic condition?
• Around 60%-70% of dogs will benefit from the allergy vaccine with more than 50% reduction in symptoms.
• Dogs may still develop symptoms occasionally, but they are often milder and shorter than prior to the allergy shots.
• It may take several months up to a year for the shots to work.
Will the vaccine be needed for life?
• If a good improvement is noted after 1 year, we rarely stop it.
How often will my pet need the vaccine?
• The maintenance protocol requires you to give an injection every 20 days.
• For dogs that do not tolerate injections, an oral form (sublingual) is also an option.
Are there any side effects caused by the vaccine?
• Very rarely. This is the safest option for environmental allergies.