Rosie is a lovely six year old Chocolate Labrador who unfortunately suffers from allergic skin disease. She has had a problem with her itchy skin for several years, and her owners and veterinarians have been managing it with various medications and washes. Rosie suffers from recurrent ear infections and an itchy bottom. She also rubs her eyes, face and general scratching at her abdomen. Treatment for the scratching and infections have all helped and worked for awhile but her itchiness comes back with a vengeance before long.
Recently a blood test has been made available in Australia for dogs with allergic skin disease that can help identify what they are allergic to in the environment. In some cases the allergen can be removed from their environment but more commonly they are allergic to things such as grasses, weeds, pollens, moulds, mites and insects, and it is often impossible to completely eliminate contact from these things. With the help from specialist dermatologists at the Animal Skin Ear and Allergy clinic in Glen Waverley a vaccine can be specifically developed to desensitise the dog or cat to the things they are allergic to. This can significantly improve the symptoms associated with allergic skin disease and reduce the need for potentially harmful medications like steroids.
In Rosie's case, the blood test was done and we found that she is allergic to two different types of dust mites. We are in the process of desensitising Rosie to the dust mites with a vaccine and there are measures that her owners can take at home to significantly reduce her exposure to dust mites. Humans, carpets and bedding are the main places to find dust mites so Rosie has to spend less time in bed with her mum and dad!
The allergy blood test is not going to be appropriate for every itchy dog or cat but when used correctly it can make a huge difference to the management of their allergic skin disease and to help to make our pets more comfortable which is what we are all about!