VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle

Allergy 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.




General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately 425-697-6106

VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle is here for you and your pet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter what the time of day or night we have a veterinarian and vet techs here to answer your questions and provide you and your pet with care in an emergency situation. 

Our emergency service is designed to be an extension of the services provided by your primary care veterinarian. When your vet is not available, our doctors and nursing staff are here to provide the emergency care your pet needs. In addition to emergency services, we are able to provide intensive care for critically ill pets that have been referred by primary care veterinarians.

Many patients are treated as outpatients. Should your pet require ongoing care, we may recommend that you return to your primary care veterinarian when the day practice opens. For unstable patients in need of further evaluation, arrangements can be made for continued hospitalization and when needed, evaluation by one of our specialists.

Please click here to download a copy of our Pet Emergency Handbook