Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
LifestylePets

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 © 2014, 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...

  • 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...

  • Adoptable pets at Baltimore-area shelters
    Adoptable pets at Baltimore-area shelters

    Here's a collection of a few of the dogs, cats and other critters in the Baltimore area who need homes. Be sure to check with the shelter before you go to verify that the animal you want is still there.

  • Controversy persists over of Parkville's neglected Oakleigh Pet Cemetery
    Controversy persists over of Parkville's neglected Oakleigh Pet Cemetery

    Many neighbors consider the graveyard a nuisance, but to one woman it's a work in progress

  • ACLU says Balto. Co. has squelched criticism of animal shelter
    ACLU says Balto. Co. has squelched criticism of animal shelter

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland says Baltimore County officials violated free-speech rights by banning photography at the county-run animal shelter, a move the ACLU describes as an effort to stifle critics.

  • Collared: Readers' pets
    Collared: Readers' pets

    TELL US ABOUT YOUR PET: We're interested in cats and dogs, but also hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, horses, chickens -- the whole pet gamut. Email the following information to sun.unleashed@gmail.com: pet name, owner name, how you met, pet's age, hometown, breed (or best guess),...

Comments
Loading