An allergic reaction is one in which an individual reacts to a normal substance in the environment. These substances are called allergens and include pollens, molds, animal hair, house dust, fleas, foods and many more. Allergens cause reactions through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion. Allergic animals possess IgE antibodies to the specific allergens. These antibodies cause biochemical changes in the body which produce allergy symptoms.
While the causes of allergies in humans and animals are the same, the clinical signs displayed may differ. In humans the classic signs of allergy are nasal and respiratory. In animals however, it is far more common to show signs of skin irritations with intense itching. Cats often show more signs of respiratory distress (as in humans) than dogs.
The classic signs of an allergic animal begin with scratching, feet licking and chewing and face rubbing. As the allergies become more severe, the chewing may eventually lead to bacterial skin infections and large open sores. Food allergies can also cause skin problems, although it is not uncommon for them to cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Allergens are cumulative in their effect on animals. The more allergens an animal is exposed to at any one time increases the chance of allergy symptoms, as well as the extent of the reaction. The easiest way to picture this “threshold” phenomenon is to think of drops of water in a bucket, sooner or later the bucket will overflow, much as the immune system “overflows” beyond it’s threshold. For this reason, time of a symptom’s onset is not necessarily an indication of what the animal is allergic to. An animal with food and pollen allergies may only show symptoms in the summer (pollen count at its highest) because the pollens push it over the threshold.
Make an appointment to review the situation with your veterinarian. Taking your pet to their vet to first to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms is very important.
On the day of your appointment, your Veterinarian will perform a simple blood draw and send the sample off to Spectrum Labs for testing.
48-hours after receiving the sample Spectrum Labs will fax or email your Veterinarian the results; along with a 24-page customized booklet that should arrive shortly thereafter.
Once the results have been received by your Veterinary Office they will schedule a follow up meeting to discuss results and plan next steps. For some that will mean a diet change for 6-8 weeks and for others that will mean proceeding with hyposensitization or allergy shots.
Once allergy shots have been ordered, Spectrum Labs is hard at work manufacturing the allergenic extract specific for your pet. There are no stock formulas, each is tailored to a specific pet.
Begin Hyposensitization. Our initial treatment protocol consist of a 283-day schedule with initial injections being given at 2-day intervals working up slowly to 30-day intervals.
Enjoy your happy, healthy pet. Remember there is no cure for allergies so if you stop for any reason, your run the risk that you may need to start over again completely.
After a thorough examination, your veterinarian will decide if allergy testing is indicated for your pet. Having ruled out other possible causes, a small sample of blood may be drawn and submitted to Spectrum Labs for diagnostic evaluation. There, your pet’s serum will be tested for sensitivity to inhalants such as pollens from trees, grasses, weeds and shrubs, fungi, house dust and mites, as well as for a host of food types used as ingredients in commercial dog and cat food preparations.
Don’t accept imitations…ask for the Spectrum SPOT test by name & be assured access to the highest success rates in the industry. We have a few different options we can proceed with should your vet not currently use Spectrum’s SPOT test.
1. We can contact your vet on your behalf and share with him/her the advantages that Spectrum Labs provides. Chances are, if he/she isn’t using Spectrum it is because they are unfamiliar with our success rates, safeguards we have in place to ensure accurate results, and the support we provide all Veterinary Partners should they need assistance. Your Veterinarian is your pet’s advocate and your guide to navigate through all pet related healthcare options available. Once we have a chance to speak with your Vet about Spectrum Labs, the technology we employ and the support we are committed to providing at all times, we will, in most cases, send out an information packet that will arrive at the clinic in about 7-10 days.
Inside the information packet will be all the tools your Vet will need to determine if this is the best option for your pet. Your Vet will then review all enclosed information, have any additional questions answered by our helpful staff, and have a member of the clinic’s team call you and schedule a time for you to come in and discuss the specifics of this option. If any additional general questions arise you can always review next steps, frequently asked questions, etc. in the pet parent portion of our website (www.vetallergy.com).
2. You can submit a request and we will find a veterinarian in your area who already utilizes Spectrum’s SPOT test. Keep in mind that with this option is a Vet who is familiar with our approach to testing and treatment they will only know what your pet’s history is based on what you tell them. So, if we go this route it is very important for you to make sure to have a detailed history ready for them to review at your first appointment.
Some information you want to gather for a new Vet include:
Know the symptoms: Most common are redness, itching, chewing of paws, face rubbing, but can also include vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Could it Be Allergies Worksheet? (PDF): Fill out this simple form to provide your Veterinarian with as much necessary information as possible to ensure your pet is properly treated.
When do the reactions occur? Are they seasonal, all the time, sporadic?
What food you are feeding your pet? Include brand as well as the main ingredients: i.e. Chicken and Rice or Duck and Potato. This should also include any table scraps. Include frequency and types of food.
Is your pet currently on any medications? List any supplements, flea and tick medications, etc.
How old your pet was when you first noticed the symptoms? Let your vet know how long this has been going on.
Regardless of the approach we take, Spectrum Labs is committed to doing all we can to get your pet back on the right track and enjoying life again!
The best form of treatment for allergies is avoidance of the offending allergen/s. In most cases, however, this is not possible. Steroid drugs are often used for short-term relief of symptoms, but prolonged use of steroids can have serious side effects. Hyposensitization (allergy shots) is another alternative. In this case, treatment sets are formulated specifically for your pet based on its allergy test results. The treatments (injections) are given in increasing concentrations. This builds up tolerance of the animal to the offending allergens so it can live more comfortably in its environment, without the worry of side effects.
Some allergy symptoms dissipate with time and treatment. In other cases animals may require continued “allergy shots” to maintain tolerance to the allergens in question. With adherence to the treatment schedule, one can expect an excellent chance of elimination of or reduced dependence on steroid drugs. Improvement in most cases is seen after 3-5 months of treatment, at which stage shots are given monthly.
Since dogs and cats cannot be hyposensitized to foods, elimination is the only form of treatment in the case of food allergies. Should your pet test positive to foods, Spectrum Labs will supply your veterinarian with a list of commercially available foods free from the ingredients to which your pet tested positive.
Adverse reactions are extremely rare, and any reactions if they do occur, should only be temporary and non-life threatening.