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.