Dog Mold Allergy Diagnosis

Diagnosing a mold allergy in your dog may require some patience and some detective skills on your part, and a variety of diagnostic tests from a veterinarian. Together, you can help clear the air so your mold-allergic dog can breathe easier.

What a Mold Allergy Looks Like

Although a mold allergy is caused by your dog inhaling something that triggers his immune system to overreact and cause allergy symptoms, he probably won't sneeze and wheeze as you might with a mold allergy. Dogs with atopic allergies (allergies caused by an inhalant) most often show their symptoms on their skin.

Mold-allergic dogs will probably scratch constantly or bite at their skin. They can also sneeze and wheeze, or they may have ear infections that never seem to clear up. If you leave your dog's symptoms untreated, he may start to have bald patches or hot spots in his skin from his never-ending scratching.

Where Mold Can Grow in Your Home

Mold can grow anywhere in your home where there are high moisture levels and high levels of humidity. Some likely locations include the basement, bathroom or laundry room.

If you find mold in your home, scrub the affected area with a bleach and water solution or other mold-killing product, and make the repairs necessary to stop the mold from regrowing. Add a dehumidifier to help control humidity levels, and run your air conditioner to regulate temperature and humidity levels in your home.

Regularly clean your home's climate-control system filters to remove mold spores, and install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters or air cleaners if your dog's mold allergy is particularly severe.

Diagnosing a Mold Allergy

After you've done your homework and identified mold as a potential allergen for your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian for your dog to have allergy tests done. These tests monitor your dog's reaction to specific allergens, and the tests may be conducted on your dog's skin or by using small amounts of his blood. Once the tests create an allergic reaction, the vet will be able to identify the cause of the dog's allergy and develop a treatment plan.

Treating Mold Allergy

In addition to taking steps to eliminate mold in your home, you may want to keep your dog out of certain areas, such as basements or bathrooms. This will help protect him from inhaling any stray mold spores that may be growing and will help prevent future allergy attacks.

You may also need to give your dog medication to ease his mold allergy. These may include antihistamines to relieve itching and swelling, or skin treatments such as shampoos or itch-relief sprays. All of these are short-term solutions to alleviate immediate symptoms, rather than an overall cure.

A long-term treatment for canine mold allergy is immunotherapy, which is more commonly called "allergy shots." These injections introduce small amounts of the allergen to your dog's immune system over a period of weeks or months to give the immune system the opportunity to form a defense against the allergen. After your dog's immune system has devised a defense, your dog should no longer have allergy symptoms to mold.