What is allergy testing? 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 can be performed by a skin test (intradermal allergy test, or IDAT) and or a blood allergy test. We begin with a blood screening initially because it is a simple blood sample with little effect on your pet. Allergy testing is used for making a diagnosis of allergies and for designing immunotherapy. The diagnosis of atopy/inhalant allergies is made by ruling out all other causes of itching and infections first.
We draw a blood sample and submit it to a special laboratory for evaluation of the allergic antibodies in your pet's 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 a 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.