What is allergy testing?
Many pets are referred for “allergy testing.” The accuracy and purpose of this test is often misunderstood by many people, including very well-intended veterinarians. Allergy testing WILL NOT tell you what you can remove from your home to make your pet better. Allergy testing does not diagnose food allergies. We will take time to discuss this testing, when it is appropriate to do, and how it is done, and decide if it the right thing for you and your pet.
Allergy testing tells us to which allergens your pet is allergic to. We use this information to better understand the pet's allergies and to design an allergy serum (or allergy vaccine, immunotherapy, desensitization.)
Allergy testing is done by a skin test (intradermal allergy test, or IDAT) and or a blood allergy test. At Veterinary Allergy and Dermatology Services, we usually do both tests when evaluating a pet's allergies. Though neither test is 100% accurate, the IDAT is considered the "gold standard" in allergy testing. Also, allergy testing is not used so much for making a diagnosis of allergies as it is in designing immunotherapy (see below.) The diagnosis of atopy/inhalant allergies is made by ruling out all other causes of itching and infections.
How is the skin test done?
The actual procedure is relatively simple and involves a short-acting, light sedative. When the sedative takes effect (usually in about 30 minutes) we start the intradermal portion of the allergy test. This involves giving a series of small injections within the skin of the most common allergens in this area of the country. We then evaluate the injection sites 15 minutes and 3-4 hours after the start of the test. At the same time, we draw a blood sample and submit it to a special laboratory for evaluation of the allergic antibodies in the blood. These results are back to us in approximately 2 weeks.
What about "allergy injections" or "allergy drops?"
Based on the results of the skin and blood allergy test results, we can formulate an "allergy serum" or "allergen-specific immunotherapy." Immunotherapy involves giving the pet injections or oral drops of the things they reacted to in small but increasing quantities. Over time, the effort with this is to "retrain" the pet's immune system to be less reactive to those allergens and prevent the signs of the allergy from happening.
Not all pets respond to the immunotherapy; approximately 70% of dogs and 50-60% of cats respond to those injections.
The response to allergy serum is best when based on results of both the skin and blood test. Doing both tests gives us the most information for your individual pets' needs.
What about food allergy?
We do not perform skin or blood testing for food allergies. The best way to diagnose or rule out a food allergy is to do a restricted diet for a specified time period as directed. For more information, please see the "Food Allergies" page.
What if I am coming a long way and want to get as much done in one visit as possible?
We get this question a lot. As a rule, we don't do allergy testing on the first visit for your protection. On the occasions we have done this, we've learned down the road that most clients regret it because they didn't realize the short-comings of allergy testing, or what they were committing to at the time. We will try to get as much done on the first visit as possible. We can always schedule for testing at a later time if it is appropriate for both you and your pet.
Veterinary Allergy & Dermatology Services
5105 Main St
Springfield, OR 97478
**PARKING IS LOCATED BEHIND THE CLINIC**
541 988 5458
Text only #: 541-603-9441
Until further notice, our buisness hours have changed:
Tues thru Friday 9:00a-2:00p
Closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Our current hours are Tuesday thru Friday 9am-2pm. We also see appointments in Corvallis one Friday a month. Please call (541) 988-5458 or EMAIL for more info or to schedule an appointment.
We are closed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.