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Understanding the Different Methods of Allergy Testing in Animals

Feb 26, 2020, 10:40 AM

An allergy is the result of an over-reactive immune system, which, instead of targeting the pathogens, starts to reach against substances such as food, pollen, fur, and dust. Allergy testing is essential for all pet owners who have their companion's best interest at heart. Timely diagnosis can not only help to ensure that your pets are happier and healthier, but it also helps you to undertake the necessary allergy mitigation strategies. When it comes to which technique you should opt for, most pet owners and veterinarians are tasked with choosing one from the increasing number of options available. Whether it be Intradermal testing (IDT), serum-based assays, or hair and saliva test, each method comes with its own set of Pros and Cons. Your choice, however, should solely be dependent on your pets' unique scenario. Listed below are some of the different methods available to test allergies in animals:

Allergy testing is essential for all pet owners

Hair and Saliva Assays

Widely preferred by pet owners as opposed to those within the veterinary community, hair and saliva assays are an easily accessible and cost-effective form of alleging testing. Not only has this method been proven, not to provide accurate results but at times, you might need the help of a veterinary expert to interpret the results. Another concern with this form of testing is that there is concrete proof as to whether or not trace chemicals present in hair and saliva can actually identify a disease. If you have decided to get a hair and saliva home test kit, seek the advice of your vet before spending your money.

Serum Testing

Serum allergy testing is a convenient and accurate method to identify allergens through a simple blood test. Usually performed under the supervision of a veterinary dermatologist, the test analyzes the given blood sample for IGE Antibodies which are more specific to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and food. Unlike other forms of testing, this method does not have a withdrawal period and the results are more accurate because it is not affected by the use of corticosteroids and antihistamines.

Intradermal allergy testing

Intradermal Allergy Testing

Similar to Serum testing, Intradermal allergy tests (IDT) are carried to determine if an animal is allergic to a specific allergen and is conducted by a veterinary dermatologist. The test involves the injection of a small amount of the suspected allergen under the skin surface. The severity of the allergy is measured by examining the reaction at the site. Unlike serum testing, IDT does have a withdrawal period of up to 4-6 weeks, and the use of substances such as corticosteroids and phenothiazines prior to the test can tamper with the results.