Frequently Asked Questions
Because allergies are incurable, it can be frustrating to try things and not see results. As dermatology and allergy experts, we bring more testing, resources and expertise to the table, which can lead to much better outcomes. Dr. Valentine is a board-certified veterinary dermatologist and has seen hundreds of cases with many positive results to draw upon. Allergies can be managed, but rarely cured, and we’re committed to being a successful part of your pet’s allergy journey.
Food allergies account for up to approximately 30% of pets with allergies, but they can be layered with allergies to house dust mites, pollens, grasses, and trees, which makes it hard to treat with diet alone. And because there is no accurate food allergy testing available in veterinary medicine, a change in diet might only work when addressing other factors that could be causing your pet’s rash, itch, or ear infection.
The goal of allergy testing is not to ‘diagnose’ an allergy in your pet. A diagnosis is made with a dermatological history, a dermatological exam, ruling out other causes of itching, and coming to the clinical diagnosis of Atopic Dermatitis – or hypersensitivities to environmental allergens. Once the diagnosis is made, the purpose of the allergy test is to formulate an immunotherapy for your pet. Immunotherapy (allergy shots (SCIT) or allergy drops (SLIT)) consists of giving tiny little bits of what your pet is allergic to to your pet, and then given in increasing doses over time. This will create immune-tolerance where your pet gets used to the allergen and controls the symptoms of the allergy.
Our allergy testing is done by looking at your pet’s immune response to particular environmental allergens. There is no accurate food allergy testing available in veterinary medicine which means our tests looks for environmental allergens only. There are 2 ways to perform allergy testing:
Intradermal skin test: in some ways the most accurate test. This test is done under light sedation, followed by the injection of over 50 different allergens in between the layers of the skin (intradermal). The allergens that are causing reactions (wheals- or large bumps) are the ones we identify as triggers for your pet.
Serum allergy test: This is less invasive than the skin test. It is very important this test be done at the right time for each pet – if the test is run at the wrong time it may be negative despite the patient being allergic. This blood is taken in-clinic and the test is done at an outside lab. As this test can be more expensive, we advise that you speak with a veterinary dermatologist beforehand.
If you’re concerned about lesions on your pet’s body, itching, or secondary infections, please see your family veterinarian. If care is needed outside of business hours, see an Emergency Veterinarian.
If your pet is stable but uncomfortable, a cool soothing bath can alleviate some discomfort. You can use cool cloths and gentle shampoos. Treats help too.
If you’re the pet’s primary caregiver, it’s important that you’re here for the first dermatology consultation so that we have the most information possible, and we can walk you through the initial choices for your pet. When we meet you and your pet, we’ll review your pet’s medical records, then our dermatologist will do a full exam which can include using tools to take a better look at what we can’t see. This consultation is just the beginning of our relationship — the first of many visits throughout your pet’s journey towards improved comfort and quality of life.
Earlier Dermatology Referral Rewards Primary Care Practice Part 2
Part 2: Boosting Client Perceptions The follow-up article outlining the benefits of earlier dermatology referrals discusses how earlier referrals may impact client satisfaction, client costs, patient care, and revenue for the practice. The article can be found here.
Raw Food Q & A
Why is RAW food so popular? Raw meat based diets (RMBD) such as the BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, Bones and Raw Food) began in the late 1960’s as a natural alternative to processed dog foods. Perceived improved dental and skin health, and more ‘compact’ stool, among other health claims have given further momentum […]