Canine Allergy

It is suggested that 10-15% of dogs in the UK are affected by
allergic disease, and it is being recognised with increasing frequency in
cats. Consequently, there is a huge demand for aids
in diagnosis.



A genetically predisposed inflammatory and pruritic allergic skin disease with characteristic clinical features, associated with IgE antibodies most commonly directed against environmental allergens.

Affecting and estimated 10 – 15% of the canine population.

Peak age of onset is 1 – 3 years and is unlikely to occur after 7 years of age.


An inflammatory and pruritic skin disease with clinical features identical to those seen in canine atopic dermatitis in which an IgE response to environmental allergens cannot be demonstrated.


Are a common problem that may cause cutaneous and/or gastrointestinal signs in dogs and cats. They comprise food intolerance, food intoxication, and food allergy1.

Affected and estimated 5 – 10% of the canine population.

Peak age of onset is > 1 year, but can commence at any time.

It is not uncommon for dogs to suffer with both an adverse food reaction and canine atopic dermatitis concurrently.


• Labrador Retriever
• Golden Retriever
• Cocker Spaniel
• Hungarian Vizsla
• Dalmatian
• Boxer
• Basset
• German Shepherd
• Rhodesian Ridgeback
• French Bulldog
• Pug
• Shih Tzu
• Lhasa Apso
• Bichon Frise
• West Highland White Terrier
• Scottish Terrier
• Bull Terrier



These signs are compatible with canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) or adverse food reaction:

  • Pruritus is the most common sign in over 95% of cases
  • Recurrent otitis externa
  • Erythema
  • Alopecia
  • Recurrent pyoderma


These signs are compatible with adverse food reaction, ranging from more subtle clinical signs:

tenesemus, flatulence, borborygmy, soft stools/mucus, increased defecation

To more severe:

Chronic diarrhoea, colitis, weight loss, vomiting

For more information on the clinical signs associated with canine allergy, please download our ‘Dog and Cat Allergies’ leaflet.


We can store blood, here at the lab, free of charge for 3 months. This enables you to send a sample when you first suspect allergy and the animal is fully symptomatic. You can then do the full work up and obtain test results safe in the knowledge no drugs, dietary restrictions or other treatments may have influenced the results.  Send samples to us with the submission form clearly marked “for storage”. Then if you would like to proceed with testing at any point simply call us to upgrade your sample.


Serological tests can aid diagnosis and treatment selection in cases of atopic dermatitis by providing rapid and easy identification of potential offending allergens.

Although intradermal testing (IDT) was considered the “gold standard” for the diagnosis of allergic disease, recent data has suggested that the sensitivity and specificity of IDT vs serology is comparable2.

Furthermore, there are limitations to IDT such as; extensive patient preparation, sedation often being required and interpretation requiring both experience and expertise.

The ELISA technology has the following advantages: 

  • Quick and easy – serum sample sent to laboratory
  • Requires minimal patient preparation
  • No adverse reactions
  • No need for referral
  • Standardised procedure
  • Excellent reproducibility
  • Not influenced by existing skin pathologies or most medications (see our allergy withdrawal guide)


Since 1999 we’ve been assisting companion animal veterinary surgeons with their diagnosis of allergies in dogs, cats and horses.

  • Our team of leading research and development scientists are highly regarded within the dermatology field, having submitted clinical papers and presented at successive World Congresses of Veterinary Dermatology since 2008. We work alongside leading figures and companies in veterinary dermatology.
  • SENSITEST® complete allergy tests use a monoclonal antibody to detect allergen-specific IgE antibodies, making SENSITEST® allergy tests very specific and reliable.
  • Tests are manufactured in our Yorkshire laboratory allowing for end to end control throughout the process with a specific focus on UK native species of plant allergens
  • Our knowledgeable, friendly Technical Support team are on hand to provide first-class tailored support and guidance throughout your allergy cases. Technical support is provided by a certified dermatologist.
  • Dedicated client support literature and website to inform your clients and aid compliance.
  • Personalised results packs sent out with every test.
  • Storage facility to hold samples free of charge for 3 months when you suspect allergy in your case workup, but are not ready for serological analysis.
  • Free pre-paid postal packs to send in your sample submissions.
  • Results provided within 2-8 days from receipt of sample.


Our result packs give clear and practical detailed guidance relevant to the tests selected. For example, the serological environmental allergy testing results includes client support on how to avoid individual allergens.

In our cytology report we incorporate microscopy images from the actual sample submitted where ever possible.

Our aim is to make the results as user friendly, clinically relevant and client inclusive as possible, in order to maximise understanding and therefore compliance of whatever treatment option is appropriate.

  1. Gaschen, Frederic & R Merchant, Sandra. (2011). Adverse Food Reactions in Dogs and Cats. The Veterinary clinics of North America. Small animal practice. 41. 361-79. 10.1016/j.cvsm.2011.02.005.
  2. Favrot, C., Steffan, J., Seewald, W. & Picco, F. (2010). A prospective study on the clinical features of chronic canine atopic dermatitis and its diagnosis. Vet Dermatology, 21(1):23-31.

Test Submission Forms

To submit a test click below or contact technical support to request a submission box.