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A Pet Parent's Guide to Home Allergy Tests for Dogs

Is your dog scratching relentlessly or experiencing ongoing digestive problems? Allergies could be the issue. Today, our Englewood vets explain at-home allergy tests for dogs, how they might help, and next steps to take.

What types of allergies are tested?

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.

How do at-home dog allergy tests work?

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 do 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.

What could my dog be allergic to?

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.

How can I tell if my 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:

  • Itchiness
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • 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.

Veterinary Dermatology in Englewood

A wide variety of inflammatory and chronic skin conditions can impact pets. That said, some are more serious than others.

Conditions can include bacterial and fungal infections, skin parasites, hormonal and immune-mediated (auto-immune) issues, hair loss, and severe allergies. There may also be congenital, neoplastic, or other causes.

At VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital we have years of training and experience in the diagnosis,  treatment and management of skin conditions in pets. Our board certified Veterinary Dermatology Specialist can help your pet with any skin, coat, ear, and nail diseases they may be suffering from, and work closely with you and your primary care vet for best results.

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.

If your pet is suffering from an uncomfortable skin, ear or nail condition our specialist is here to help! Contact VRCC today to book an examination for your canine companion.

New Patients Welcome

VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Englewood is always accepting new patients! Our board-certified specialists and emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to Denver Metro area pets.

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