Diagnosing an Allergy to Dogs' Saliva

People may develop an allergy to dogs and this may be due to dander or dog saliva. Both the dander and saliva have a glycoprotein among their contents, which is the causative agent of the allergies. The most common allergen in dogs is dander, as it contains a higher amount of the glycoprotein. However, in some dogs, the saliva may have high contents of the allergen as well. The diagnosis of dog saliva allergy can be done judging by the symptoms, but it has to be backed up by tests as well.

Dog Saliva Allergy Symptoms

Dogs tend to salivate a lot and there are particular breeds that produce more saliva than others. However, in sensitive people, the saliva can cause an allergic reaction. This is due to the glycoprotein contents of the canine saliva. The symptoms of dog saliva allergy will include:

  • Dermatitis, especially in the areas that have come in contact with the dog saliva (i.e., hands, but also if the hands touch other areas of the body such as the face)
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Inflammation
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Itchiness

These symptoms should appear immediately after the exposure to dog saliva. Similar symptoms are developed in other types of allergies, so a blood or skin test should help differentiate between the possible allergens.

Blood Testing

Blood testing can be performed to identify the allergen. A sample of blood is needed and will be tested for different antibodies, which are secreted when the patient develops an allergic reaction. If the patient is allergic to dog saliva, there will be an antibody in the blood that is only produced if the patient is allergic to saliva. If other types of antibodies are present, the patient is not allergic to dog saliva. Two blood tests can be performed, the RAST and the ELISA. The ELISA test is more commonly used and gives more accurate results.

Skin Testing

Skin or intradermal testing can be performed if the patient suspects saliva allergies. The testing is carried out by injecting a diluted amount of the suspected glycoprotein. Within three to six hours, an allergic reaction should occur. If the allergic reaction occurs immediately after the injection, the patient has severe allergies which will most likely develop into an anaphylactic shock.

If the patient doesn't display any allergic reaction within six hours after the test, he or she is not allergic to dog saliva. Additional tests may be performed to isolate the allergen or to detect what other condition may be causing the symptoms.

If a dog saliva allergy is detected, the patient can start getting treatment. The treatment can be made up of antihistamines or steroids. Allergy shots may also be tried, giving the possibility to diminish the allergic reactions. The dog saliva allergies should be managed, otherwise they can become more serious in time.