This test is the ‘gold standard’ method of investigating your pets suspected allergic skin disease, and may be used in conjunction with other investigations including blood tests and food trials. It is usually only performed by specialist dermatologists, but both Caroline and Lloyd have a strong interest in skin disease and have been providing this service to the pets’ under their care for many years.
To allow us to perform this test your pet will need to have had a break from steroid therapy (usually prednisolone) for 6 weeks, and a break from antihistamines (such as piriton) for 2 weeks prior to testing, as these drugs can interfere with the test results and give inaccurate results. If you are concerned that your pet may have received these medications with in these time frames, please speak to one of our veterinary surgeons who will be able to advise you further.
The intradermal skin test involves the injection of tiny amounts of different allergens into the top layers of your pet’s skin (their dermis). Unfortunately pets (no matter how well natured they are) will not allow us to do this unless we sedate them. Please rest assured that the sedation is quick, and reversible, and allows us to perform the test rapidly, with minimal fuss and discomfort.
We will clip a patch of hair from the lower side of your pet’s rib cage (often near their armpit), and will mark the points at which we introduce the allergens with a special pen. Occasionally, if this area is badly affected by your pet’s skin disease, we will choose a different area on which to perform the test. It is possible that these dots may still be visible when you collect your pet following the procedure, they will wash off easily.
We inject the different allergens into your pet’s skin and then monitor the response of your pet’s skin to these allergens. Allergic pet’s will respond by developing a localised swelling around the injection site and the size of this swelling, or indeed its absence, allows us to judge if your pet is allergic to the allergen injected at the site.
We use a variety of different allergens, some of which are present in your home environment all the time such as house dust mites and common household moulds; and some of which are only present at certain times of the year such as tree pollens, grass pollens and weed pollens.
Please rest assured that should your pet prove to be allergic to house dust mites this usually indicates that your house is very clean and that you clean frequently – and as such disrupt the house dust mites a lot!
Once we have collected the results of your pet’s skin test, and performed any other investigations or treatments that we have discussed with you, we will reverse your pet’s sedation and get them ready to come back home to you.
The results will be available for you when you collect your pet.
The vet caring for your pet will discuss the results with you either during a consultation, or over the telephone and will formulate a treatment plan for the future.
Should you have any concerns regarding the intradermal skin test, either before or after it has been performed please speak to a member of our veterinary team.