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Dog Allergy Testing: Is It Worth It?

Dog Allergy Testing: Is It Worth It?

If your dog is always really itchy, always seems to have an upset stomach, or is constantly chewing their paws, they might have allergies. Our Greensboro vets are here to talk about allergy tests for dogs.

Allergy Testing for Dogs

Allergies are a more common issue in dogs than you might think. Some dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies while others can have year-round allergy problems. If your dog is showing signs of allergies, such as excessive scratching, licking, or hair loss, it's important to consult with your veterinarian.

Allergy testing for dogs can also be beneficial for dogs who have persistent skin problems that haven't responded to other treatment methods.

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, at-home 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 your email within a few weeks. You should discuss your findings with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog.

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 best allergy test for environmental allergies is intradermal testing. A sedative is administered to help your pet remain calm, 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 requires 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

The symptoms that your dog may experience can differ depending on the type of allergy. 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:

  • Red, itchy, inflamed skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • 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.

If you think your dog might have allergies, contact our Greensboro vets today to have your pet examined. 

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