Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $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...

  • Ducklings trapped in storm drain rescued by Harford sheriff's deputy and civilian
    Ducklings trapped in storm drain rescued by Harford sheriff's deputy and civilian

    A Harford County Sheriff's Office deputy and civilian employee rescued three ducklings Monday that were trapped in a storm drain behind a building on Main Street in Bel Air.

  • Cats in hats
    Cats in hats

    What started as a lark — and to honor the grandmother who taught her to knit — has turned into steady work for Sara Thomas, author of "Cats in Hats: 30 Knit and Crochet Patterns for Your Kitty" (Running Press, March 2015). Here are some photos.

  • In Alaska, a wood bison is born in the wild, the first in a century
    In Alaska, a wood bison is born in the wild, the first in a century

    It’s a baby wood bison! The wood bison calf — part of a herd reintroduced into the wild in Alaska — was born last week, the first new critter of its type to draw breath in the wild in more than 100 years.

  • The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures
    The Owl Bar to auction off historic fixtures

    Historic fixtures from the Owl Bar, including bar stools and six wooden banquettes that the restaurant's operators say date back to 1903, will be put up for auction on May 31.  A portion of the proceeds from the auction of the fixtures and other donated items will benefit the Baltimore Animal Rescue...

Comments
Loading

77°