If your dog constantly itches, chews their paws non-stop, or experiences significant gut issues, they may be suffering from allergies. In this article, our veterinarians in Jackson will discuss the topic of allergy testing for dogs.
Allergy Testing for Dogs
Instead of being caused by the body's immune system, like IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, at-home allergy test kits detect sensitivity or intolerance to food and environmental factors that develop over time. These kits diagnose reactions that occur minutes after ingestion or exposure, unlike IgE allergic reactions, which veterinarians diagnose using a blood or skin prick test.
However, if you suspect your dog has allergies, do not use these kits as a replacement for consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatology specialist. Instead, discuss the kit results with your vet. These tests can also complement your veterinarian's blood or skin allergy testing.
At-Home Allergy Tests
How to perform a dog allergy test at home: Collect a saliva or hair sample (depending on the company's requirements) and send it to the company's lab. You will receive the results via email within a few weeks. Based on these findings, consult with your veterinarian to decide on the most suitable 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: Intradermal testing is the gold standard in allergy testing for environmental allergies. 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 various potential allergens, including pollen from trees, grasses, weeds, shrubs, fungi, house dust and mites, and various possible food ingredients found in commercial dog food preparations.
Common Allergies Seen in Dogs
Similar to humans, dogs can develop allergies to various substances, such as food, medications, and environmental pathogens. The most common food allergens include dairy products, beef, eggs, chicken, lamb, wheat, and soy. Common environmental triggers encompass fleas, dust mites, molds, and pollens from trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers.
Signs Your Dog Has Allergies
Allergy symptoms in dogs vary depending on the cause. For instance, a dog experiencing anaphylactic shock will exhibit a drop in blood pressure followed by shock, which differs from a dog with a skin condition.
In general, you may observe the following common signs that indicate your dog has allergies:
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
- Red, itchy, inflamed skin
- Itchy ears
- Chronic ear infections
- Itchy, runny eyes
- Constant licking
Please note that several of these symptoms may also indicate other medical conditions. Please schedule an appointment with our veterinary dermatology service in Jackson. Our team offers comprehensive dermatological testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Consulting with our specialists will give you a more accurate diagnosis than your regular veterinarian.
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.