Intradermal Skin Testing for Allergies in Dogs

If you and your vet suspect that your dog may suffer from allergies, one of the best ways to determine conclusively whether that suspicion is correct is by conducting intradermal skin testing on your pet. This method of testing for allergies monitors your pet's reaction to many different potential allergens at once. It saves time over other allergy testing methods and gives your pet the chance to show his allergies with minimal consequences and side effects. It is quick and painless to your pet.

Intradermal Skin Testing Overview

Intradermal skin testing is a process by which minute quantities of different potential affecting allergens are injected just below the surface of your pet's skin. You and your vet will subsequently monitor the areas that you've injected for signs of allergic reactions. Because the amount of the allergen in each case is small, the largest and most significant reaction will generally only be one of slight swelling and irritation. From this, you can continue with further testing in order to confirm the presence of the allergy.

The process of intradermal skin testing involves sedating the dog first. Your vet will then apply several different allergens via syringe into the layer below the surface of his skin. Most reactions will occur within minutes, although you'll likely need to bring your pet back in for further examination several hours later or the next day.

Benefits of Intradermal Skin Testing

When performed accurately and effectively, intradermal skin testing can correctly identify your pet's atopic allergies roughly three quarters of the time. The quality of the testing is based primarily upon the allergist who studies your pet. Intradermal skin testing is easy to do and requires little by way of your pet's cooperation. It will leave no permanent scars or damage, although you will have to shave the part of your pet's fur off under which the test will be administered.

Disadvantages of Intradermal Skin Testing

Intradermal skin testing has a few downsides as well. First, it can be difficult to find an allergist who is trained and experienced enough to accurately determine whether the reaction that your pet shows to a particular allergen is an allergy or something else. It can be difficult to determine the scope of a reaction on sight unless the allergist has ample experience, and those without are more prone to make improper or incorrect identifications.

Intradermal skin testing is also generally most effective during the high allergy season when your pet is already sensitive to allergens in the air. Because it is generally only useful in identifying atopic allergies, it will not be as helpful in noting allergies to food ingredients or other chemical products around the home.

Ask your vet for more information about intradermal skin testing for your pet's allergies if you suspect that your dog may have allergies but you have had a difficult time identifying them. Most vet offices will perform this task.