Dog Dander Allergy Diagnosis

Dog dander allergy is commonly found in humans, and pet owners are more likely to detect they are allergic to this factor because they're more exposed to it. The allergies occur in humans that have a deficient immune system due to various causes. People that are allergic to other inhalants may also be allergic to dog dander. The diagnosis of dander allergies can be performed employing several methods, and it's important to determine the type of treatment needed.

Dander Allergies

A lot of people claim they are allergic to dog hair, the main allergen is actually the dog dander. The dog dander is composed of dead skin cells and other proteins and glycoproteins, which are likely to cause a negative reaction in susceptible people. The same glycoprotein that causes allergies in humans is present in the dog's saliva and urine, but in negligible amounts. Some people are not actually allergic to dogs but to the dirt, pollens and dust mites which may be present in the pet's coat. 

Dander Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms are important in diagnosing the dander allergies. The symptoms are similar to those that are present in people with allergies to other irritant agents and may include:

  • Itchy eyes and skin
  • Uncontrollable sneezing
  • Skin rashes
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of feet or fingers

These symptoms will be more severe after exposure to the pet dander. The dander is airborne and can be inhaled, or it can enter the system through the skin pores. The same symptoms may point to an infection, so a proper diagnosis is necessary. In rare cases, anaphylactic shock can occur and this will cause the severe swelling of the air passages, which will hinder normal breathing and this can be fatal.


The tests that will be performed to determine if a person is allergic to dander may be of two different types:

Both of these tests can reveal if the allergen is indeed the dander glycoprotein or something else.

Blood Testing

Blood testing can be performed using one of two possible methods: the RAST (radioallergosorbent test) or the ELISA (enzyme linked immunoassay test). Both are similar in methodology and will give conclusive results based on a blood sample. The blood will contain an antibody which is produced as a negative response to the dander glycoprotein. People that are not allergic to dog dander don't produce this antibody. If the allergy is caused by a different irritant, a different antibody will be present in the blood.

Skin Testing

Intradermal testing can also be used to detect dander allergies. The test will consist of injecting a diluted dose of the glycoprotein, and monitoring the skin for reactions. If the injected area of the skin gets irritated within five hours of the injection, the diagnosis is clear. If the skin is not irritated, other possible allergens may be injected to get the correct diagnosis.