- What causes an allergy?
- How do pets show allergic symptoms?
- How can I tell if my pet is allergic?
- What is the best course of therapy for my pet?
- What is hyposensitization?
- How effective is allergy injection treatment?
- When will my pet improve?
- How long will my pet need allergy injections?
- Can you treat food allergies?
- At what age do pets show signs of allergies?
- If a pet is taking antihistamines, can blood be drawn for an Allergy Test?
- If a pet is on steroids, can blood be drawn for an allergy test?
Allergies are caused by certain common substances in the environment known as "allergens". These allergens include the pollens of various grasses, weeds, trees, mold spores, house dust, dust mites, epidermals, fleas and a variety of other substances including foods. Exposure to an allergen can be from inhalation, skin contact, or ingestion. Once your pet is exposed to an offending allergen, sensitivity is established and then every time your pet is exposed to the allergen, a reaction may occur.
Symptoms can be highly variable. Some of the symptoms associated with allergy include itchy feet, ears, inflammation of the skin, persistent scratching, chewing and face rubbing. Some pets lose hair and may experience rashes that can lead to secondary skin infections.
Your veterinarian can conduct an examination to determine whether your pet is being affected by an allergen. He/She will ask questions about the pet's history, environment and symptoms. A simple test can be performed on a small sample of blood submitted to Nelco Vet for analysis. Your pet's serum will be tested for a variety of inhalants, such as tree, grass and weed pollens, fungi (molds), house dust, mites, epidermals and fleas that are specific to the region in which you live. Foods commonly found in your pet's diet can also be tested. Skin testing results may be used as well.
Your veterinarian is best qualified to discuss treatment options once it is determined that your pet is allergic. Avoidance of the allergens is preferred, but may not be practical or possible. Medications, including steroids and antihistamines may temporarily relieve symptoms, but are not recommended for prolonged use. Hyposensitization or immunotherapy (allergy shots) is the most natural and safe way to control allergies.
Your veterinarian may recommend hyposensitization, also referred to as immunotherapy or "allergy shots". Once the pet's allergies are identified, a mixture of specifically prescribed allergens is formulated. This "allergy extract" is made up of the offending allergens and is given in small doses that are gradually increased over time. The extract reduces the sensitivity of the pet to those allergens. In this manner, allergic symptoms are controlled without the undesirable effects of corticosteroids and similar drugs.
Clinical Studies have shown that immunotherapy desensitization is highly effective in controlling symptoms of allergy. Success rates up to 60-70% have been reported.
Pets progress at different rates. Many will show significant improvement in 6 months. But others will take up to one year before improvement is noted. It is critical, therefore, that treatment be continued for at least one year.
Allergies can last throughout the lifetime of your pet. It is important to understand that allergies may never be cured, but they can be controlled. As long as symptoms persist, maintenance injections may be necessary.
The best way to manage food allergies is avoidance. With every food test Nelco Vet supplies an approved food list.
Allergic symptoms can start as early as 6 months to 3 years of age.
“Yes”, antihistamines will not affect the test results.
If a pet is on steroids for a prolonged period, this may suppress the immune system. For best results, take the pet off steroids for at least 2 weeks prior to drawing blood.