At our Orange Park pet dermatology clinic, we offer vet immunotherapy testing and treatment to help cats and dogs that suffer from skin conditions caused by allergies.
Allergy Specific Immunotherapy For Pets
Allergy Specific Immunotherapy (ASIT) is known to be the most effective way to address the issue of environmental allergies in animals. It is also called "allergy shots" or "allergy serum" and they can sometimes permanently cure your pet from their allergy. However, response is not immediate, and it can take a year or more for maximal response.
ASIT has been proven to be effective in both cats and dogs and is given in the form of oral drops or subcutaneous injections. This treatment is prescribed after your pet has tested positive for an allergy using Intradermal or serum testing. Immunotherapy works to desensitize your companion to the allergen.
Our vets suggest booking follow up appointments to monitor the success of the treatment and make any necessary changes.
Intradermal Allergy Testing for Pets
This testing is done by injecting multiple allergens most often found in the local region into your cat or dog's skin to see if they develop a reaction. Our vets first sedate your pet to make sure they are comfortable and then shave an area on their side to make the injections. After exposing your companion to the allergen they are monitored at 20 minutes and then again after 2 hours to see if they develop a reaction. These results are then used to develop an immunotherapy (ASIT) treatment plan.
Read through our most frequently asked questions regarding immunotherapy for pets to get a better idea of the procedure and why it can work for your pet.
- How safe is immunotherapy?
As with any injectable medication, the allergen serum may cause a serious allergic reaction. Although such reactions are extremely rare, we recommend that you stay with your pet for 30 minutes after administering immunotherapy.
If you notice any unusual symptoms after an immunotherapy injection, such as weakness, labored or difficult breathing, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea, or hives, please contact our hospital or your regular veterinarian immediately.
- How is immunotherapy administered to pets?
Cat and dog immunotherapy is either given as oral droplets or an injection administered at home. It works to build up your pet's immunity to the specific allergen over time by routinely administering small amounts of the allergen, and gradually increasing the doses over time.
- How long do pets typically have to receive immunotherapy?
Vet immunotherapy is typically given lifelong. However, some pets can discontinue treatment after a few years
- Are there any potential side effects of immunotherapy?
With injectable immunotherapy, you may see a small amount of redness at the injection site, but this should resolve within 24 hours.
The most common adverse effect of immunotherapy is an increase in itchiness, which may include scratching, licking, chewing, or scooting.
Call us immediately if your pet experiences a decreased level of comfort, as immunotherapy should never cause your pet to be in discomfort.
- Is there any type of medication to avoid while the pet is on immunotherapy?
Every pet is different, and the answer to this question will vary on a case-to-case basis. If you're worried about medications your pet can take if they are going through immunotherapy, get in touch and we can provide you with some guidance.
What to Expect From Pet Immunotherapy
It can take up to 18 months to determine if the immunotherapy is working. If there is little or no change, your vet will find another form of therapy. In some cases, younger pets respond better to immunotherapy than older pets.
During the course of vet immunotherapy, your pet might be given another form of allergy medication to alleviate allergy symptoms.