Dog Allergy Shots – Hyposensitization

by tessa

Years ago when I was a kid my parents send me to an allergist to get allergy shots. This was an effort to cure mold, mildew and ragweed allergies.

Now as a ‘parent’ of Annie I am tempted to try allergy shots to cure her dog allergies. So just as people have this treatment, so can pets. The process, however, is not without difficulty and one should not expect hypo-sensitization to end all itchy skin concerns.

  • Allergy shots take time to work. It is not uncommon for results to take 6 to 12 months
  • Not all dogs will respond. In fact 25% of atopic dogs will not – they are frequently the gogs that are allergic to multiple allergens
  • Up to 25% of dogs will require the steroid prednisone at some point during the course of treatment
  • You will have to be prepared to administer the allergy shot yourself

Is Your Pet A Viable Candidate?

Testing is best done during your dogs non-itchy season. This is so that the skin responses of the test will not be influenced by any active inflammation.

In order to test, a small amount of allergen extracts are injected into the skin. Reactions from these injections are then are compared to reactions produced by two control groups (injections that are sure to produce results): pure histamine which is extremely inflammatory and pure saline which is not very non-inflammatory).

The proper outcome for these tests will be incumbent upon following a medication withholding schedule. Your dog may not have:

  • had any Depomedrol injections over the last 8 week period
  • received Vetalog injections over the last 6 weeks
  • been administered Antihistamines over the last 1 week
  • received a Topical steroid for 1 week
  • ingested Oral steroids for 4 weeks

Note that these are requirements from one board certified dermatologist – other dermatologists may have other requirements. Further, it is useful to have ruled out dog food allergies with an elimination diet trial prior to the skin test as food allergies/intolerance responds much more rapidly to diet correction than atopy does to hypo-sensitization.

Interestingly both food allergy and atopic dermatitis present a similar pattern of itchiness and can be difficult to distinguish from one another.

For complete options about treating your dogs allergies call your local trusted veterinarian.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

marie pearcy July 27, 2010 at 12:40 AM

my smalls dog oney has this itching in aug.and sept.

Lea June 2, 2011 at 8:44 AM

my dog just started hyposensitization shots for allergies to dust, dust mites, many kinds of grass, tress and flowers, sage, etc. she is on her third shot as of this evening and she is itching a bit more than usual. vet said I could give her benadryl to make her more comfortable during treatment. I’m holding steady to see how it goes….

tessa June 2, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Good luck!

As I wrote here in the comments: I was not cut out for the shots route.

Cristella January 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Our dog is allergic to everything it seems. From May to October she was covered in hives. After treating the symptoms for several months we decided to do an allergy test and started shots in November 2010. Sticking to the shot schedule and keeping in constant contact with our vet with updates on her symptoms and antigen schedule adjustments has drastically improved her condition. The first 4 months were rough and we still are not at the 1ml/once a month maintenance dose, but her health has greatly improved. We are happy to report that we do not dread allergy season and she is no longer covered in hives. Contrary to what you may think, it’s not expensive at all.

Cristella January 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Allergy shots has helped our Weimaraner. So glad we decided to do them and don’t understand all the negative information about it. It’s the same with allergy medicine, not all of them will work for your dog, you have to find the right one through trial and error. Give allergen immunotherapy a chance.

Cat March 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

My dog has flea and pollen allergies. He goes to the vet once a month to get a depomedrol injection. It’s a miracle worker the results were immediate and my baby is comfy and happy he was to the point where he was losing his hair and had lesions it was so bad but the injection saved him!

Cat March 8, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Oh and I pay about $40 for the shot

Chris April 21, 2014 at 10:18 AM

There is now an oral spray available through your vet that works just as well as the shots but the medicine is given orally once a day.

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