If your dog is relentlessly itchy, chewing their paws constantly, or has major gut upset, they could have allergies. In today's post, our Monroe vets discuss everything you should know about allergy testing for dogs.
Allergy Testing for Dogs
Instead of IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are caused by the body's immune system, at-home allergy test kits test for sensitivity or intolerance to food and environmental factors that develop over time. IgE allergic reactions occur within minutes of ingestion or exposure and are diagnosed by veterinarians using a blood test or skin prick test.
However, if you suspect your dog has allergies, these kits are not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatology specialist. Instead, you should discuss the results of these kits with your vet. These tests can also supplement blood or skin allergy testing performed by your veterinarian.
At-Home Allergy Tests
How do you conduct a dog allergy test at home? You only need to collect a saliva or hair sample (depending on the company) and send it to the company's lab. The results will be sent to you via email within a few weeks. You should discuss your findings with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your puppy.
How Vets Test for Allergies in Dogs
There are two types of allergy diagnostic testing: intradermal allergy testing and serum allergy testing. Your veterinarian will recommend allergy testing based on your pet's symptoms and a variety of other factors.
intradermal Allergy Testing: The gold standard in allergy testing for environmental allergies is intradermal testing. A sedative is administered to relax your pet, a shaved area on the side is performed, and multiple allergens common to the Southeast are injected into the skin. After 20 minutes, the test site is examined again to determine which allergens caused a red, raised reaction.
Serum Allergy Testing: Serum allergy testing for pets entails obtaining a small sample of your pet's blood for diagnostic purposes. The serum from your dog will be tested for sensitivity to a variety of potential allergens, including pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, and shrubs, as well as fungi, house dust and mites, and a variety of potential food ingredients found in commercial dog food preparations.
Common Allergies Seen in Dogs
Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies to a wide range of substances, including food, medications, and environmental pathogens. Dairy products, beef, egg, chicken, lamb, wheat, and soy are the most common food allergens. Fleas and dust mites, as well as molds and pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers, are common environmental triggers.
Signs Your Dog Has Allergies
Allergy symptoms in dogs can vary depending on the cause. A dog in anaphylactic shock, for example, will have a drop in blood pressure followed by shock, which is not the same for a dog with a skin condition.
But In general, some of the most common signs that your dog may have allergies include:
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
- Red, itchy, inflamed skin
- Itchy ears
- Chronic ear infections
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
Note that some of these symptoms are also symptoms of a lot of other conditions. Make an appointment with your vet for a more accurate diagnosis.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.