Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Pets

Lifestyle Pets

Ask the Pet Expert: Home allergy tests for pets not recommended

A friend told me about a home allergy swab test for pets. She says I can swab my pet's mouth, send the swab to a company, and find out what he's allergic to, instead of going to an animal allergist. It sounds too good to be true. Are these tests any good?

Swab tests and blood tests have been shown to be inaccurate in diagnosing pets' allergies. If you think your pet might be suffering from allergies, the first step is to visit your veterinarian for a full evaluation to rule out other problems such as bacterial and fungal infections, skin mites, ringworm, fleas, or more serious diseases. Skin scrapings, skin cytology, skin cultures or skin biopsies may be necessary to identify your pet's particular problem. Baseline blood work including thyroid testing should also be part of this evaluation. Once other diseases are ruled out and secondary infection is managed, your pet may be a candidate for allergy testing with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist.

Intradermal allergy testing has been considered the gold standard for diagnosing and treating canine atopy for many years and remains the primary testing method used by most veterinary dermatologists. Intradermal allergy testing allows us to test the skin where the allergic response is occurring. Most animals tolerate the procedure well and results are available immediately.  After allergy testing, your pet will be started on a series of injections tailored to your pet's specific allergies that act to desensitize your pet to certain allergens.  

If you are concerned that your pet has allergies, schedule an exam with your veterinarian to discuss all of your options. 

This week's expert is Dr. Meridith Brand with Eastern Animal Hospital, Baltimore. Send your questions to sun.unleashed@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Cat licks off fur

    Cat licks off fur

    My 10-year-old cat, who we have had for nine years, started licking off her fur on her back legs and stomach a year ago. Her fur is very thick and medium length; she chokes on all the fur she is swallowing. She is an indoor cat and our only pet.  There have been no changes in the household. Could...

  • Ask the Pet Expert: Should the lump be tested?

    Ask the Pet Expert: Should the lump be tested?

    My 5-year-old chocolate Lab has a soft, squishy lump on her side. I can move it and press it without bothering her, and it doesn't seem to be growing. My vet says it's probably a fatty lump, which are common in labs of her age, and that we should keep an eye on it. But other people tell me I should...

  • County residents care for puppies destined to be service dogs

    County residents care for puppies destined to be service dogs

    Families, single people and couples open their homes to adorable balls of fur, ready to care for them and train them. They know that in a year's time those puppies will be grown, well-behaved dogs almost ready to begin new lives as service dogs for sight-impaired owners.

  • Baltimore County animal shelter offers Memorial Day discounts

    Baltimore County animal shelter offers Memorial Day discounts

    Thinking about adopting a pet at the Baltimore County animal shelter? If you do it on Memorial Day, it will cost you half as much as usual.

  • Behind the scenes at Orioles' pet calendar shoot

    Behind the scenes at Orioles' pet calendar shoot

    A quick peek at the photo shoot for the 2016 Orioles' pet calendar, benefiting BARCS. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

  • March for the Animals will be held May 31

    March for the Animals will be held May 31

    The Maryland SPCA’s 20th annual March for the Animals, which was originally scheduled for late April but postponed due to the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 31. 

Comments
Loading

72°