Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT) is most beneficial when formulated while taking into account the patients’ long-term medical history and seasonality of symptoms. It is important that flare-factors such as dietary ingredients and flea exposure be controlled adequately. Upon establishing a diagnosis of environmental allergies, and identification of specific allergens that a patient is sensitive to, allergen specific immunotherapy can be initiated.
Allergen avoidance is the gold standard treatment for pet allergies. This option should always be pursued when possible but is not always practical. Allergen specific immunotherapy may be formulated as daily oral drops, or as less frequent subcutaneous injections. Both administration techniques are beneficial for patients. The mode of immunotherapy administration (oral versus injectable) is selected in consultation with the pet owner, to help ensure that adequate compliance will be achieved long-term. The goal of treatment includes helping in reduction of a patients’ reliance on symptom-relieving medication, stopping progression of the “atopic march” and minimizing allergic symptoms and allergic flares.
Lifelong therapy is required in most cases. When hypo-sensitization therapy is utilized in canine patients, 75% of dogs respond well, while the remaining 25% show only mild improvement. There is recent evidence to suggest that non-responders to the selected hypo-sensitization therapy may still respond well to hypo-sensitization utilizing an alternate route of administration (oral to injectable, or vice versa).