Are blood tests for dog allergies accurate?

Take Home: Saliva and blood tests for food allergies in dogs do not reliably distinguish between healthy and allergic dogs and should not be used for diagnosis of food allergy! The use of these blood and saliva tests could result in the false identification of a lot of common foods as allergens.

Although usually not fatal, allergies in dogs can be uncomfortable. The majority of symptoms are linked to dermatological issues, but some in some dogs may also result in chronic respiratory problems if left untreated for an extended period of time. When a dog owner brings their canine companion to the vet, they occasionally discover that their pet only has an allergy rather than a serious medical condition.

For dogs, the majority of allergies appear in the second year of life. The dog will be exposed to a variety of allergens during its first year, primarily through skin contact. Food (typically the source of protein) and inhalants (things people breathe in that are in the air) may contribute to a smaller number of allergies than other factors. The dog’s immune system overreacts to the antigen(s) in the second year of life, causing immune cells to release inflammatory chemicals (like histamine), which result in itching symptoms. Rarely is a dog allergic to just one thing. The skin barrier of the majority of allergic dogs is subpar at birth, making it easier for antigens to enter the skin. Due to their abnormal skin and subpar immune system, dogs with allergies are more susceptible to secondary infections. The majority of the time, dogs with allergies experience a variety of symptoms rather than just one. You must be aware that dog allergies are caused by a complicated range of problems, many of which tend to alter as the dog’s environment does.

If your dog displays any of the aforementioned symptoms, we advise scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian right away because there are numerous potential causes for these signs. In addition to increasing the likelihood that your dog’s treatment will be successful, early diagnosis and treatment of dog allergies can also be less expensive than delaying treatment. Your dog will suffer more and the secondary infections could get worse the longer you wait.

A thorough examination by your veterinarian is the first step in identifying the source of your dog’s symptoms. Your veterinarian will want to perform some diagnostics in addition to checking for external skin parasites like fleas and mites to help them identify any possible infections. Your veterinarian may recommend talking about allergy testing after determining the presence of and treating for external parasites and infections. Your veterinarian may advise testing for specific allergens if they believe that allergies are the primary cause of skin irritation, infections, and discomfort. There are many things to test for in order to identify the possible causes of your dog’s allergies. Dog allergens fall into the following groups:

The vast majority of allergies in dogs are caused by contact allergies, including flea, food, and dust/pollen allergies. These allergens can result in an allergic reaction in the body that mainly affects and occurs in the epidermis, which can cause extremely irritating symptoms. Dogs scratch themselves as a result, which can lead to skin infections and injuries.

The benefits and limitations of allergy testing

Atopic dermatitis, which is typically brought on by breathing in pollen, mold spores, dust, and other allergens, is a condition that can be effectively treated by allergy testing to determine the underlying cause. However, it is not advised to use allergy testing to diagnose food allergies. (Food trials with a hypoallergenic diet are necessary for the diagnosis of food allergies. ).

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand that allergy testing cannot establish whether a patient has atopic dermatitis. Prior to treatment, atopic dermatitis must be diagnosed using the history, clinical signs, and exclusion of other skin conditions. Allergy testing is only helpful in identifying the underlying cause of atopy that has already been diagnosed, in order to prepare for immunotherapy and other therapies aimed at reducing reactions to particular allergens.

Dog allergy testing typically takes one of two forms: blood (serum) testing or intradermal skin testing. Each technique has specific benefits and drawbacks from both a medical and a client perspective.

What is RAST testing?

A blood test known as a RAST test, or radioallergosorbent test, can be used to determine whether a dog is allergic to particular antigens. This test is frequently carried out as part of the evaluation for canine atopy (a skin manifestation of an inhalant allergy).

By conducting allergy testing, you and your veterinarian can identify the allergens that may be causing your dog’s atopy so that you can create a strategy to treat these allergies.

There are three typical reasons why dogs develop allergic skin conditions:

  • Food allergy: an allergy to the proteins found in food
  • Flea allergy: an allergy to proteins in flea saliva
  • Atopy: an allergy to inhaled environmental allergens
  • Atopy is a common cause of seasonal allergic skin disease in dogs and is a skin reaction to inhaled irritants.

    What Types Of Allergies Are Tested?

    Are blood tests for dog allergies accurate?

    Instead of IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are brought on by the body’s immune system, these kits test for sensitivity or intolerance to foods and environmental factors that develop over time. Veterinarians can diagnose IgE allergic reactions through a blood test or a skin prick test since they happen minutes after ingestion or exposure.

    If you suspect your dog has allergies, these kits shouldn’t take the place of a visit to the vet. Rather, you should discuss these kits’ results with your veterinarian. They may supplement your veterinarian’s blood or skin allergy testing.

    Important Information: Your dog cannot take allergy medication actively for two weeks prior to or during this (or any other) allergy test.


    What is the most accurate dog allergy test?

    Although intradermal allergy testing is frequently viewed as the “gold standard” and most reliable test, it has drawbacks.

    Can a blood test detect pet allergies?

    An allergy blood test looks for elevated immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody levels in your blood. The test can help identify allergies to certain foods, animals, pollen, or other irritants. More than half the time, allergy blood tests can produce false-positive results.

    Are dog allergy tests worth it?

    If food and fleas are ruled out as potential triggers of your dog’s symptoms, you may want to think about environmental allergy testing. But not all pets (or pet parents) should undergo these tests because they are pricey and aren’t always required to create a treatment plan.

    How do doctors test for dog allergies?

    The most popular method for determining a dog allergy is a skin prick test. A small amount of an extract of dog allergen is applied to your skin during this test. A tiny, sterile probe is then used to puncture your skin, allowing the liquid to seep beneath the skin’s surface.