Immunotherapy for Dogs

The immunotherapy also known as hypersensitization or desensitization is a treatment that is typically applied in dogs that have allergies to different irritants and is meant to make the immune system more resistant. The immunotherapy will be applied in several shots that will contain doses of the irritant. This type of treatment is recommended for dogs with allergies, as it has no side effects and is an effective long term treatment.

Immunotherapy for Dogs

The immunotherapy is recommended for dogs that have severe allergies. The allergies are a reaction of the immune system to different stimuli. The immunotherapy can be applied only if the culprit allergen is identified. The culprit allergen may be identified by performing a few blood tests or through intradermal testing.

The immunotherapy is not suitable for food allergies.

The Compounds in the Allergy Shots

The allergy shots will be formulated especially for your dog’s allergies and will contain diluted amounts of the substance your dog is allergic to.

The allergens in the shots may be more diluted at first and the vet may increase the amounts of the allergens injected as the therapy advances, so that the dog is made more resistant to the culprit allergen.

Allergy Shot Administration

The immunotherapy will require a lengthy administration of allergy shots. During the first few months, the shots will be administered more frequently.

After the dog gets more resistant to the irritants, the dog will receive 1 shot per month. After a few years of immunotherapy, the dog may only require 1 shot every 3 or 6 months.

The vet will establish the frequency of the shots, judging by the dog’s reaction and evolution of his allergies.

Immunotherapy Side Effects

During the first few months of immunotherapy, the dog may display a worsening of the condition, due to the fact that the culprit allergens are injected in the dog’s system.

There are no serious side effects to immunotherapy; the dog may develop an allergic reaction at the injection site.

Immunotherapy Success Rates

The allergy shots may be effective in over 75% of canines that receive treatment. Dogs treated with allergy shots should be less sensitive to the culprit allergen and the allergy symptoms will be less severe. The allergy shots will not give immediate results; the dogs will only show signs of improvement 3 to 6 months after the administration of the first shot. During this time, the dog should also receive other treatment that should manage the allergy symptoms.

It may happen that your dog won’t respond to the immunotherapy; the vet will monitor his evolution and if there are no results after 6 months, the dog should get different treatment.

In rare cases, dogs may get completely cured. The immunotherapy is the only treatment for allergies that may result in complete healing.

The other treatment options such as antihistamines or steroids are only effective while they are administered; a discontinuation of treatment will lead to the returning of allergy symptoms in your pet.