Allergy Testing

Did you know that approximately 1 out of 10 pets suffer from allergies? The symptoms, however, are not quite the same as in humans. The most common sign of allergy in dogs and cats is itching, manifested by scratching, rubbing, licking, and chewing. In some cases, vomiting and diarrhea may be present. In many cases, cats will develop skin lesions without associated itching. 

Allergy is an inherited disease that is the result of the immune system abnormally reacting to certain common substances in the environment. These substances are called allergens and are usually pollens of weeds, trees and grasses, house dust, insects, human and animal dander, molds, and chemicals. The allergic dog or cat makes a special type of antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE antibodies) against these substances. Whenever the pet comes in contact with these allergens, the IgE antibodies attach themselves to them. When this happens, a series of chemical reactions occur in the body that result in the release of mediators that cause inflammation and itching.

While approximately 40% of skin irritation in dogs and cats are allergy related, it must be emphasized that not all skin problems in pets are due to allergies. This is why it is important that your pet's skin problem be accurately diagnosed so that proper treatment can be administered.

Finding out what causes the allergies in a dog or cat requires some careful detective work. There are several methods used to identify the problem that may be occurring in your pet. These may include a skin test or a more sensitive laboratory blood test.

While avoidance of the substance identified as causing the allergies in your pet is the best form of treatment, it is not always practical. A strict flea control program and removing foods positively identified during the blood test from the diet can help control both flea and food allergies. Allergies due to pollens, molds, dander, etc are almost impossible to avoid. Drugs such as corticosteroids and antihistamines can be valuable in temporarily relieving symptoms but the prolonged usage of steroids can cause serious systemic side effects.

If you suspect your pet has allergies, please contact our office about a consultation. This will allow us to determine the best possible treatment for your pet.


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South Shades Crest Animal Clinic
2304 John Hawkins Parkway
Hoover, AL 35244
(205) 987-4VET (4838)

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