Allergy Skin Testing
Intradermal Allergy Testing Procedure
A dermatology consultation with a pet skin specialist is generally indicated prior to confirming need for intradermal allergy testing, or allergy skin testing. Many dermatological conditions may mimic the symptoms of environmental allergies in pets, and should be ruled out or evaluated for a pet before intradermal allergy testing is scheduled. Secondary skin infection, chronic cutaneous changes, nature of allergies affecting the pet, and current season are some of the factors to be taken in to account prior to performing intradermal allergy testing. Certain treatments may be required before allergy testing can be pursued.
A food elimination trial may be recommended prior to or after the skin allergy test, as food allergies in pets (also called Cutaneous Adverse Food Reaction) can be a complicating factor or a primary condition by itself. Allergy testing is typically not used to test for food allergies, making a food elimination trial even more important for each allergic pet.
Sometimes, multiple food trials may be indicated. According to some studies, approximately 30% of pets may have both environmental and food allergies. In these pets, control over both the diet and the environmental allergy is needed for a successful outcome and good control of the skin disease.
While allergy testing is the gold standard test to isolate problem allergens for your pet, this test is best performed with adequate preparation in order to achieve best results. The information achieved by performing allergy testing will help design an individualized care plan to manage allergies in your pet.
Guidelines and Preparation for Intradermal Allergy Testing
Certain medications and therapy may interfere with the results of intradermal testing. These medications must be withdrawn accordingly prior to the procedure. Our pet dermatologist will help you in ensuring that these medications can be avoided adequately before allergy testing, while still improving your pets’ comfort levels short term and long term.
Some general guidelines for medication washout periods prior to intradermal allergy test and serum-based allergy testing are as follows:
- Injectable steroids (long-acting) – 90 days
- Oral steroids including Vanectyl P, Prednisone, etc. – 30 days
- Steroidal skin, ear, and eye ointments (topical therapy) – 14 days
- Antihistamine medications (Benadryl, Reactine, etc.) – 7 days
- Tranquilizers including Acevet, Atravet, Clomicalm – 7 days
- Oral & topical essential fatty acids including fish oils – 7 days
- Medicated baths – 5 days
The following medications do not generally need to be discontinued prior to allergy testing unless advised otherwise by your veterinarian:
- Flea Preventive Medications
- Atopica (Cyclosporine)
- Thyroid Medication
- Anti-Seizure Medications
- NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
- Heart Medications