An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to a common substance known as an allergen…
Allergens include foods, pollens (trees, grasses, flowering plants), moulds, dust and storage mites, fleas, dead skin and many more. They can enter the body by inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. After being repeatedly exposed to an allergen, for some reason, in certain animals, the immune system starts to overreact to it, which can result in the clinical signs associated with allergies.
Please note: The pet owner section of this website is for reference only. We are unable, due to both contractual and data protection law, to give clinical guidance or discuss test results directly with anyone other than the submitting veterinary practice. Irrespective of this, we would always advise contacting your own veterinary practice anyway as they are best placed to explain these results/discuss your pet’s case in the correct context factoring in all other test results, clinical findings and your pets previous history to ensure the test is not interpreted in isolation.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Common symptoms of dog allergies include:
- SKIN PROBLEMS – itching, scratching, face rubbing, paw chewing, persistent licking and over-grooming
- EAR PROBLEMS – swelling, itching and soreness
- GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS – diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite and weight problems
- HAIR LOSS
- LOW STAMINA AND ENERGY LEVELS
- BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS
There are a number of potential causes for your pet’s discomfort and behaviour and your vet will carry out a thorough work-up to identify these.
As part of this work-up, they may suggest sending off a small sample of blood to us to carry out a SENSITEST® allergy test.
Following this, we will provide you and your vet with your dog’s results and a personalised results pack. If allergy is identified as a contributing factor, your vet will provide you with suggestions for managing your dog’s condition.
If you’re concerned, please speak to your vet.
The cost of your test and any treatment may be covered by your pet insurance.
Please check with your vet and insurance company for details.
Things to look out for:
Which allergens do the Sensitest Panels test for?
- White Fish Mix (Cod, Haddock)
- Whole Egg
- Cow’s Milk
- Corn (Maize)
Environmental Indoor Allergens
- Acarus Siro
- Glycophagus destructor
House Dust Mites
- Dermatophagoides farinae
- Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
- Cat epithelia
- Human dander
- Alternaria Mix (Alternata, Tenuis)
- Aspergillus Mix (Amsteldami, Flavus, Fumigatus, Nidulans, Niger)
- Penicillum Mix (Camembertii, Chrysogenum, Digitatum, Notatum, Roquefortii)
Environmental Outdoor Allergens
- Meadow Grass
- Cocksfoot/Orchard Grass
- Meadow Fescue
- Red Top, Bent Grass
- Rye, Perennial
- Sweet Vernal
- Daisy (Ox eye)
- Dock, yellow
- Lamb’s quarters (Fat hen)
- Red Clover
- Ash (white)
- Birch (white)
- Horse Chestnut
- Oak (Red, Common)
- Scots Pine
WHAT DO YOUR RESULTS MEAN?
The SENSITEST® allergy test identifies levels of antibodies in the animal’s blood which may correspond to the clinical signs of allergy. These results pinpoint the potential offending allergens and the level of reaction – a Class Score on a scale of 0-5. Any score of 1 and above should be considered as significant. In conjunction with the work already carried out by your vet these results can be used to identify ways of managing the condition.
Results from the SENSITEST® food allergy test can be used to tailor a food elimination dietary trial for your animal. Your vet will be able to advise suitable commercially prepared foods or a home-prepared diet that you may wish to try. Food tips & advice are included in your results pack to assist in monitoring your animal’s diet.
OUTDOOR & INDOOR ALLERGEN AVOIDANCE
Avoiding offending allergens should always be considered. For the latest pollen counts in your area, check the weather forecast. Due to the airborne nature of environmental and/or insect allergens, avoidance may not always be possible. In these cases your vet may recommend allergy shots (allergen-specific immunotherapy) for your dog.
Studies show that 70-80% of animals respond positively to allergen-specific immunotherapy. Most animals will require this treatment for life as, in the vast majority of cases, allergies cannot be cured, only managed effectively.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is one of the safest and most effective treatments available to animals suffering from environmental and/or insect allergies and unlike other therapies it actually targets the root cause and provides long term relief from symptoms. It works by gradually building up immunity/tolerance to the specific allergens that are causing the allergic reaction. Over a period of time small amounts of the allergens are injected under the skin. The injections are given in increasing amounts and concentrations until a tolerance/maintenance level is reached.
Each treatment is tailor-made to the individual requirements of your animal. The formulation is based upon your dog’s environmental allergy test results, clinical history and the prevalence of the allergens in the local environment. It may not be necessary to include every allergen that was positive on the test result and your vet will select the most relevant.
Every animal is unique and will respond differently to the treatment. In most cases, improvements can be seen after a few months but some animals may require more time before their immunity is built up enough to tolerate the offending allergens. Other factors such as severity and duration of the symptoms, age and general health of the animal will affect the time scale for improvement.