Dog Allergy Testing and Allergy Shots

Dog Allergy ShotsWhen we first learned that our dog Elsie had allergies, I did some reading about allergy tests and allergy shots.  At the time, the allergy test seemed like an expensive option. I didn’t even know any humans who had been allergy tested – much less a dog.  It seemed like an outrageous expense to go to a pet dermatologist, have our dog tested for allergies and then give her an ongoing supply of shots.

We changed our attitude after two years of almost weekly vet visits and many thousands of dollars spent on various medications, antibiotics, ointments and sprays.  In reality, the one-time allergy test and dermatologist visit cost us less than most of our regular vet visits. And, most importantly, the regular allergy shots have almost completely eliminated Elsie’s allergy symptoms.  In the past two years, she has only had her annual vet visits.  No more rushing to the vet with ear infections, hair loss, diarrhea, and an endless list of other health problems. You name it, Elsie had it.  These allergy shots were our savior.

Unfortunately, if your dog has a flea or food allergy, allergy testing and allergy shots will not help.  This form of treatment is specifically designed to desensitize your dog to indoor and outdoor inhalant allergens (molds, pollens, dust, etc.) and contact allergens (wool, cotton, etc.).

I’ll explain how the allergy tests and allergy shots work.  This form of treatment will not be necessary for many allergic dogs, and may not be the best option for all owners either.  I’ll admit that allergy shots are a pretty big commitment.  You’ll likely be administering allergy shots to your dog for the rest of its life.  You’ll want to discuss this option with your veterinarian and your family to decide if this is the best option for you and your dog.

Allergy Testing
Before you start your dog on allergy shots, you’ll need to have your dog tested to determine which allergens your dog is allergic to.  There are two forms of tests available: blood tests and intradermal skin tests.

Blood Tests
With a blood test, blood will be drawn from your dog and your veterinarian will perform a test that checks for antigen-induced antibodies in the blood.  The benefit of a blood test is that it is often cheaper and easier to administer than a skin test.  In fact, most veterinarians can draw your dog’s blood and perform the test.  The drawback is that this test does not provide the same accuracy as the skin test.  If you are serious about starting your dog on allergy shots, it is recommended that you visit a veterinary dermatologist or other veterinary specialist who can perform the full skin test.

Intradermal Skin Tests
An intradermal skin test involves the injection of a small amount of antigen into your dog’s skin.  This procedure is most often performed by a veterinary dermatologist or pet allergy specialist. Here’s how the process works.

First, your dog will be administered a mild sedative, and a 4”x8” area on their side (near the armpit) will be shaved – so it is easy to see the skin.  Next, the Dr. will inject small doses of a wide variety of common, regional antigens into their skin.  Our dermatologist injects 62 different antigens.  When Elsie had this procedure, it looked like she had a little polka-dot tattoo under her arm for a couple of days. Each injection location is documented, so the Dr. will know exactly which antigen (or allergen) your dog is allergic to.

Within minutes, small red bumps will occur when there is a reaction to the antigen.  The Dr. will document this and then be able to provide you with a list of allergens that are affecting your dog.  They will then prescribe a custom vaccine (or allergy shot), based on the results of your test.  You can see an example of Elsie’s allergy test results below.

Dog Allergy Test Results

Elsie's Dog Allergy Test Results

I was amazed that this entire process took less than an hour. Elsie was tested and we learned exactly what she was allergic to in less than 50 minutes.  Not only was she allergic to house dust, four types of mold, and seven types of trees, grasses, and weeds but I was also surprised to learn that she was allergic to cotton and feathers.

When I asked how they knew what antigens to test her for, they said their tests include indoor antigens (like cotton and dust) as well as a number of regional grasses and trees.  They said that if we ever moved to a different climate, such as Texas or Arizona, we’d have to have her re-tested for a new variety of antigens.  So, depending on where you live, the allergens your dog is tested for may be quite different from Elsie’s test.

Allergy Shots – Hyposensitization

Once your dog has been allergy tested, you will move on to the allergy shot treatment.  Allergy shots, more officially known as hyposensitization, involve injecting your dog with small amounts of the allergens that were identified during their allergy test.  This type of therapy is designed to “reprogram” your dog’s immune system so that it becomes less reactive to these allergens.

When you first start this process, you will need to help your dog (and you!) to slowly adjust to the injections.  For the first month, the injections will be a very small amount and will take place every other day.  Then, depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, their veterinarian will prescribe injections every 1-3 weeks.  If this form of treatment appears to be helping your dog, it will likely need to continue for the rest of your dog’s life.

Hyposensitization benefits 68%-85% of the dogs who are placed on this form of treatment.  You should not expect to see any significant improvement for the first 4-6 months of injections.  And, it may take as long as 12 months before the improvements are truly noticeable.  We started to notice improvements in Elsie’s skin and overall health in less than four months.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment for us was learning to be confident when administering the shots.  Neither my husband nor I are medical professionals.  We were both concerned that we would “hurt” Elsie during the injections and cause her to be scared and traumatized – making the process all that much more difficult. However, over time, my husband has become the main “shot giver” in the family and has become quite skilled and proficient.  His technique is to be calm and quick, so as not to make Elsie nervous. Then, he follows with a dog treat – which always makes these procedures much more tolerable.

We keep a regular supply of syringes, which are provided by our dermatologist office along with the vaccine.  The vaccine is kept in our refrigerator, never frozen, just kept cool.

Since these injections will need to occur for your dog’s lifetime, most people choose to perform the injections themselves.  However, if you really cannot stomach the idea of giving your dog a shot, you should contact your local veterinarian to see if they can assist with your regular injections.

For us, the entire process, including the dermatologist consultation, intradermal allergy test and 6- month vaccine cost roughly $500.  Her ongoing 6-month vaccine costs roughly $140.  Compared to the $300 per month veterinary visits and medication fees we were paying, the cost for these allergy shots is a drop in the bucket.  Plus, we have a much happier and healthier dog.

Hyposensitization/Allergy Shot Benefits:

  • Hyposensitization works on 65-85% of dogs placed on this form of treatment.
  • Often the only solution for dogs who do not respond to other allergy treatments.
  • A more natural approach to allergy treatments than steroids – trains the body to heal itself and not respond to allergens.

Hyposensization/Allergy Shot Drawbacks:

  • May not work for 15-32% of dogs who are placed on this form of treatment.
  • May not see significant results for four months to a year.
  • Initial test and first round of vaccine costs roughly $500.  Ongoing vaccines run roughly $300 per year.
  • Lifetime commitment – injections are given every couple of weeks for the lifetime of your dog.

As I mentioned earlier, allergy shots have been very effective for Elsie.  However, it is a long term commitment and depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, it may be more costly than other forms of treatment.

164 comments to Dog Allergy Testing and Allergy Shots

  • Marsha Eichner

    I have a 12 year old tiny poodle. She was tested for allergies way back when she was a puppy. The blood sample went to a laboratory in Texas who returned a horrible inclusive list of all her allergies to include every weed, grass and tree that grows in Pa. plus a large variety of foods. Once she was put on the antigen, her hair grew back from the baldness she suffered and she’s been fine since. What upsets me is….the injections have increased thru the laboratory to requiring them be given 2x a month. The bottles only hold 10 doses. that means I must spend $131 every 5 months. I wonder if a 12 year old dog might have outgrown her sensitivity to the reported elements making this antigen unnecessary. I don’t mind if she really needs it….but with her age in mind….I wonder?

    • Hi Marsha may I ask Are you still struggling and experiencing with this kind of issue right now? If so, I can reply to you here or faster via email if you still need help, at answers@immuneiq(com) – Cynthia

    • Karen

      Our dog is 11 and she’s had shots since she was about two. We thought we’d try it without them and she broke out terribly with huge red welts up and down her stomach/chest. She’s allergic to everything and we had taken her for a walk. Our Vet Assistant said we should wash her immediately in Head and Shoulders(Sulfer based) and start her on the Medrol. She was better within two days. We are going to continue to give her the shots, which cost 165.00 for a bottle of syrum every five months. Good luck with your pet!

  • Nancy Makowski

    I have a very healthy 2 year long coat german shepherd. She was quite itchey at a year old and only Hydroxloline, 3X daily controlled the itch. The vet dermatologist told my vet to do the VARL blood testing and sure enough, Jilly was allergic to a few pollens, low grade and fleas. The allergy shots are VERY worth it. Her vet put her on a fish and potato diet kibble and canned. I use Wellness and he told me not to give her grains as when we did the food trial in the beginning for 3 months, grain seemed to make her itchey. I bathe her in oatmeal shampoo and conditioner twice a month and keep Advantage 11 on her all year along. She is almost 100% non symtimatic. Her itch level is 0.1 all the time. I highky recommend allergy testing and shots. Shots are easy and quick to gice, small needles too. Vet will show you how it’s done,.

    • Hi Nancy. Thanks for sharing Jilly’s story. It sounds like allergy testing and allergy shots really made a difference.

      • Nancy Makowski

        Jilly has been on antigen shots for almost 3 years and for the most part appeared to be allergy free until 6 months ago and she began to have issues again. Hot spots and flea allergy. So, Comfortis for fleas and this week will have her re tested to see if he antingen shots needs upgrading. I highly recomment Antigen therapy!! And Hyrdroxoline when the pollen count is up high.

  • Mel H

    I have an 8.5 year old Golden Retriever going through this at the moment! Rescued her in January (she had a very bad ear infection, her ear canals are very swollen from constant infections throughout her life) and once spring came she started licking and chewing constantly. Had VARL testing done about a month ago after no response to Vanectyl P, Benedryl or Prednisone for her itching. Somewhat patiently awaiting our vials so we have start hyposensitization and HOPE that we are in 65-85% (*fingers crossed*)!!!! The poor girl is covered in hot spots from licking, has no fur left between her toes from chewing, has constant ear infections and is just itchy all of the time and very unhappy :( your story definitely gives me hope!

    • S. Parker

      Our dog was also a rescue. We have been taking allergy shots for 6 months now. We have the same symptoms as your dog. We have seen no improvement at this time. Our dog was also started on trifexis not long after we adopted him. I was reading that one of the side effects is severe itching, skin redness and red welts. I am now concerned that it is the medicine and not allergies. We are discontinuing the medicine and will be trying a new diet.

      • Carolyn

        My dog with similar symptoms responds VERY WELL to Comfortis. You might want to try that instead.

      • Heidi

        Our dog, also a rescue, was allergic to Trifexis. We are thankful that Sentinel has come back on the market and he has done very well with that. He still has allergies which we have determined by the blood test, but he’s not vomiting the Trifexis and we were able to get a refund from the company for the pills he threw up and return the unused portion. Thankful for a vet that follows up on these things! Hope your little buddy is better now.

        • Darlene

          We give Trifexis to our 2 Maltipoos and one is allergic. I give it in two small doses, 2 days apart so not so much reaction. However, since this stays in their system do you know if this can still have allergic systems for the one duration and is just making it an ongoing problem? I am thinking of doing the allergy testing also. I was shocked to see cotton and cats listed on Elsies allergy sheet. We do have him on good food (white fish/potato). They sleep with us and we use a cotton blanket which was interesting.

  • Mel, I also hope your pup is in the 65-85%! It may take several months before you start to see any results – so hang in there. I know how frustrating it can be. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Napoleon, my 7 year old boston terrier, has had allergies since he was 1. regular vets have told me to use bendryl, he’s been given cortisone shots, steroids, etc, he has needed to wear a cone, he has no hair on his belly, i recently had to have his eye removed from being misdiagnosed by a vet and many people donated to napoleon so i decided it was time to do allergy testing. i found out he is allergic to cats, yes cats, dust, wool and several weeds,trees and grass. he starts his allergy shots may 24th ( i did both the blood test and the one where they shave him etc). my question is buying dust mite killers, dehumidifiers, hepa filters , cat allergy reducers going to help him, i know it helps people, will it help him as well, or if he is on the shots, i shouldn’t cuz the point is to expose him to those things? idk what do you think?

    • The shots definitely helped A LOT with Elsie, but we still need to take steps to minimize the allergens in our home. Elsie is also allergic to dust – which often means dust mites. We’ve found that using dust mite covers on our mattresses and pillows helped us, so if Napoleon sleeps near your bed, it’s possible it could help him too. You’ll want to regularly wash Napoleon’s bedding too. The dehumidifier is also supposed to be very good at keeping down the mites – we use ours throughout the year, as we live in a pretty humid climate. Keeps down mold too (another allergen). I guess there isn’t one right answer, we all just need to try to find the best combination of steps that works for our pet and our family.

      • Melanie

        Hello Kathy, my dog has the same allergies (dust mites and mold)..where could i find dust mites covers? walmart or something.. bcuz she sleeps with uss..

        • Hi Melanie. You should be able to find dust mite covers at Walmart or Target. I bought two mattress covers – one for the mattress, the other for the box spring. And, be sure to get pillow covers too.

  • Denise

    My dog is also on the shots. We recently moved and forgot his meds at home, and somehow it took them 2 weeks to send us the vial. So our dog went past his normal shots for about 3 weeks. Now his allergy bumps are back even though we gave him the shots. I’m kind of freaked out it may become explosive before I can contact a vet, since it is the weekend. Do you have any experience with this?

    • Denise – sorry to hear about this. During the Spring and deep Winter, even though she is on shots, Elsie will sometimes have flare-ups – which it sounds like your pup is having. Usually it would calm down after a week or so, and sometimes with the help of some anti-yeast meds. I’d talk to your vet, but since you’re administering the shots again, I imagine it will get back under control very soon.

      • Hello my dog Oscar maltipoo has just had his allergy shots -and was told about the on going vaccine
        I an really hesitant as I am worried about giving my little man needles all the time and the
        Side affects this could have on him -I have read all your I go sounds like your dog is
        Well – my poor little one needs go stop his itching so I am looking I go this.

  • Jennifer V

    Our 5 year old schnauzer started showing signs of allergies when he was about one. Since then it has been four years of steroids, shampoos, sprays, pills and antibiotics. Even Atopica didn’t work. He has now developed a resistant bacterial infection along with his allergies because of the years of trauma to his skin. We finally had the same realization that you did Kathy H., It would cost less to just bite the bullet, get the testing done and start the shots. He goes in for his allergy testing in a few weeks and I just really hope he is in that lucky % who will begin to feel some relief in a few months. Poor guy deserves a break!

    • Jennifer – I hope you have as much success as we did with Elsie. The allergy shots were a life changer. Elsie’s skin and hair looks so much better and she no longer gets infections like she once did. Good luck!

  • Dawn

    I have a 9 year old golden retriever & he developed severe allergies about 4 years ago. We had him tested and began the shot regimen. It did not seem to help much–we continually needed to go back to the vet for steroids & anti-biotics to keep the spots at bay.

    The vet suggested testing again so we did. More allergies were noted from test.

    My question–vet seems to think that if we did not give the shots that the allergies would be worse, but I am not convinced the shots work. So is there another remedy I could look into?

  • Tom OSullivan

    Hello,
    We have a three year old boxer with severe allergy issues…..have tried everything from diet changes (now on totally raw), to the various over the counter allery meds ( Allegra, Claritin, etc…) with no sucess. We have been seeing a dermatologist for the past two years and will now be moving on to the testing for the shots. We live in Northern NJ and am shocked at the difference in cost for this procedure! The vet we use charges 1400.00 for this compared to the 500. mentioned in the post….checked with other vets in the area and all in the 1200-1400 range. Our regular vet doesn’t do this type of work and had referred us to the dermatologist…just wanted to know what everyone thinks if this pricing is way above the norm.
    Thanks
    Tom

    • Hi Tom – Yes, I’m learning that pricing does seem to vary by quite a bit. Others have also mentioned that their tests and shots are more expensive. I guess the good news is that the testing is only done once.

    • Julie

      Tom,
      I live in eastern PA and my vet just did the blood test on my dog. It cost around $250, and returned with a fairly extensive list of food and environmental allergies. My initial set of shots costs $160 total for the first 10 months, and probably about $100/yr after. The blood test results also came back with a list of foods and treats that are OK to give her. I figure the cost of the test is worth three vet visits for ear infections, and she has been chewing her paws raw for years. The results of the test were surprising. Some of her allergies I had suspected, but there were others that completely shocked me. Overall,definitely worth the cost for me.

      • Hi Julie,
        My vet recommended today that my white Karen Terrier the allergy tested. I also live in eastern Pennsylvania and was wondering if you could tell me where you had your dogs testing done. I am absolutely shocked at how expensive this whole procedure is going to be. Rex’s vet keeps telling me that as far as
        allergies go Rex has been lucky. He’s not nearly as badly affected as other terriers he sees in his practice.
        Any chance you would feel comfortable giving me your information?

        Thanks! Love your dog is doing better.
        Anne Marie

    • Trina

      Hi Tom,
      Our Daizy has been dealing with major allergies for the past couple years.
      We have tried just about everything. Vet dermatology here in Hawaii is $2800.00, this is only for the test.
      I elected to do the blood testing since it was only 350.00.

    • Trina

      Hi Tom,

      Vet dermatology here in Hawaii is $2800.00, this is only for the test.
      I elected to do the blood testing since it was only 350.00.

  • Jocelyn

    I am going through this process right now. I wish the place that gave me an estimate was at the pricing you were given. It makes me wonder what area you are in. Estimate I was given: $400 for the test(including sedation and the doctor determining the results) The vaccines would be an additional $300 every few months. The vaccines in particular seemed high even before I read about your experience. Now, I know it is high. There’s a HUGE difference between $300/year and $900-$1200/year. Looks like I should shop around. Hopefully I can find more options in my area! (Indianapolis, IN)

    • Hi Jocelyn – Tom O’Sullivan (above) also mentioned that his pricing (for the test) was higher where he lives. Like with everything, I suppose pricing varies by location and by provider. As you mention, you may be able to find some lesser expensive prices by shopping around. I suppose what you’ll need to do is compare your current vet/medication expenses with the estimated annual shot expenses. Good luck and let us know how things go.

    • Heidi

      We just are going through this right now. The inital testing was $250 (blood test). The shots are $180-200 for the first vials which will last approximately 6 months. After that, the vials will last a bit longer (at full-strength) so we are looking at about $350-400 a year. We live in the San Francisco Bay area.

  • Gayle

    My son’s St. Bernard is miserqable. He has been on steroids, antibiotics and allergy shorts for nearly 2 months now. He had the blood test and is allergic to a lot of things. Today when I was there to let him out at noon, he spent about 10 minutes biting and scratching. At what point will he start getting better? Or will he?

    • Unfortunately there are no guarantees. We started seeing results from our allergy shots within a couple of months. They don’t work for every dog, but hang in there and give it some time.

  • Dog Lover

    Hi,

    I came across this website, because I was looking for grain free dog treat recipes. Suddenly, while searching for recipes with little success, I began to wonder if there was such a thing as an allergy test for dogs, as I had been allergy tested (a skin test) a couple years ago. I had a few questions. Our dog, Sonny, has had chronic ear infections since he was little. We put him on a new ear medication 3 months ago, and he hasn’t had an ear infection since. I think it’s due to the usage of a different medication, put some people in my family think that it was due to his grain free diet. It has never been confirmed whether or not he was allergic to any or all grains, but the vet basically guessed at his allergies and said poultry and grains. I would like to get him allergy tested, so if he were only allergic to wheat and chicken (for example) then we could put him on a less costly diet. This leads into my questions. Unless I missed it in either the article or the comment section, I was wondering how much you guys paid for the allergy test you got (either blood or skin). Also, where did you have it done? Do most vets do this sort of thing? And lastly, if any of you know any grain free dog treat recipes that don’t have to involve poultry it would be really awesome if you shared them with me.

    Thanks for any info, advice, etc. that you can offer!

    • Regarding the allergy test, I would talk to your vet to see what they recommend. Some vets can provide the shots, but in most cases, you need to visit a veterinary dermatologist. In our situation, we visited the dermatologist for the tests, and then received the results (seen on this page) and our first batch of shots. All additional shots have been shipped to us. Pricing and procedures vary, so check with a couple of local vets to see what your options are.

      I haven’t made any grain-free recipes myself, but perhaps someone else can chime in!

  • Natalie w

    Hi.

    I have a 3 and a half year old gsd. He has got sever grass,tree, pollen, dust and some food allergies. I first tried to control his itching etc by using herbal remedies like flax seed oil, evening primRose etc but now it is hayfever season he has gone back to being nearly bald. So we decided to go for the allergy shots I live in the uk and the prices were £400 (I think It is for 10 shots) he had his first shot last week and he is constantly itching (I suppose he is going to) so fingers crossed this will really help.

  • [...] the source of the allergen is the best remedy, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on allergy testing done at the vet’s office. While the process of removing potential allergens, one-by-one, is [...]

  • Michelle D

    Hi everyone,

    I have a 2 year old pit bull mix named Freyja who has been having severe allergy issues since she was about 6-months old, and like many of the stories here we’ve been to the vet constantly trying different medications and I finally have her itching contained to a somewhat reasonable level (still broken out on her face, belly, hind, but not irritated enough to tear her skin open) by using a combination of Loratodine and Prednisone, however I know that regular steroid use can have long-term side-effects. My vet has recommended keeping her on this until winter comes as it seems to be more seasonally-related (and we’ve just moved to a different part of the country, have to complicate it even more!) and then take her off the medication to do allergy testing.

    My question though, about the allergy shots, is do they have any long-term side effects like steroids or are they totally safe for use? Minor side effects are almost certainly better than no medication or the steroids, I’m just wondering what the comparison is in regards to long-term usage of the allergy shots. Any information would be much appreciated!

    • You’ll definately want to ask your vet about this. I’ve read that allergy shots are a more natural form of treatment, because rather than injecting a drug or chemical, you are really just desensitizing the dog to what it is allergic to. But, I am not a vet and I’d recommend asking a vet or vet dermatologist for more details.

  • Pat Van Duinen

    I have a Westie who had an ear infection once or twice a year. This past Spring he had a really bad one they couldn’t get to clear up. There is no dermatologist in our city so I had to take him 150 miles to Memphis. We had him tested and got his ears cleared up. They prepared a serum for injections. All that cost almost $1500 dollars. To continue with the serum is $165 and shipping overnite because it has to be refrigerated is another $42.50, for a shot every 10 to 14 days. He is on a special diet of rabbit and potato canned and dry, with sweet potato as the only treat. My shelter dog has become very exspensive. So far I have seen no changes. He still licks and chews his feet. As for his ear infections I just don’t know. We will see.

  • Lauren

    Hi, i have (2) a small dogs, the one with allergies is a mix and about 18 months old. I noticed him digging at his feet, and tail, and itching a lot. To the point where he would put his entire paw in his mouth and bite and bite. So i started giving him half benadryl a day..and now that it is summer and we are in Fl i give him half in the morning and the other half late evening. It has really helped. He no longer digs on his feet and tail. I also have changed his diet and i make home made treats. There are wipes for dogs that help get dust etc off their fur so i try to wipe him down once every other day. This has helped my dog. We are military and i am not always employed due to moving around so we can’t really afford the high vet bills. Hope this helps!

  • I have a 7 year old Germ Shep. We used to live in KY and he was eating Natural Balance – changing the meat every time I purchased a new bag – that worked but he still had outbreaks. We have lived in FL for a year and he is a mess. In October of last year he started licking, scratching and biting on his back above his tail, to the point that it gets red with blood – then crust and scabs. He also bites and licks his paws continuously. The vet gave him a steroid shot for three months, I then changed vets and he has been on Hydroxyzine. It has now stopped working. I’m sure he has food allergies. I recently purchased the book ‘Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats’ -the book says not to waste your money or time on allergy testing. I have an appointment on Thursday of this week (2nd of August). It is expensive and is 55 minutes from my home. The cost is $375 for the test and $175 for the visit. My dog also swims in my salt water pool (which turns to chlorine naturally) and drinks a lot of the water. I have kept him from the pool for a week and it has not helped. I cannot get him to stop drinking the water. The pool is a great source of exercise for him since he has an injured front leg and cannot walk much. Do you suggest I go ahead and get the test? After reading this book, I took him to a holistic vet. Per this vet, I am not going to use flea medication or heartworm medication – I am going to use Nosodes for HW and natural homemade remedies and garlic for fleas due to possible ‘vaccinosis’. I have been feeding him a raw diet (turkey and oats). What are your thoughts – suggestions? He is miserable and I feel so sorry for him. I wish I had a magic wand… I do not want to put him on prescription meds. I haven’t taken them for years and want to have the same standards for my dog. Thank you so much for your time. Lisa

    • Hi Lisa – whether or not to test your dog is definately a personal decision. I can just say that allergy shots made a world of difference for our dog. But, that does not mean they are right for everyone.

  • Joey

    I am taking my french bulldog to a dermatologist in the next few weeks as we have finally eliminated the possibility of a food allergy. Have you evaluated the cost effectiveness of pet insurance for allergy issues? I’m wondering if it is more beneficial to pay out of pocket or if insurance will make it cheaper in the long run. Great article and thanks for any feedback.

    • Hi Joey – I haven’t evaluated pet insurance vs. out of pocket. Perhaps others could weigh in. For us, once we started the shots, our vet expenses were quite manageable. Before the shots was a different story. Good luck with your pup!

  • Nancy

    I have a teddy bear and he has 28 allergies. He started his shots last dec. His bad time is always Aug (ragweed). So here is August and the big test. I am so disappointed. He is going nuts with biting and scratching. He is on Benadryl and no luck. My heart is breaking for him. There has to be something that will help him. This is his 3rd year of this and I can time it to the day. Any suggestions…please

    • I’m sorry to hear this Nancy. Are you giving him frequent baths? I’m not sure if it will help or not, but it seems to help Elsie during her difficult Spring months. Washing off the allergens – and all of her bedding – seems to help.

  • Courtney

    My 3.5 year old pit-mix, Taima, is going to have her first allergy test in 2 months. She lived in Las Vegas her whole life up until 9 months ago when she stayed with her grandparents in Washington State where her allergies really started to flare up, then the poor pup moved back in with me and my husband in New York City and she has had a constant allergy outbreak since the end of June.

    I’m really worried about the next 2 months of no steroids and how bad her belly is going to get and how much hair she’ll lose….any suggestions on how to ease her through this? I don’t want her to suffer. She’s a pro at wearing her cone!

    Also, everyone who has had the blood test, do you find that the results are accurate?

  • Brooke

    Hi! Luna tested over 3,000 to potato and was also high with chicken, fish, beef, soy, pea and every grass and tree they tested her for. She has been on allergy injections for almost a year but still itches.

    My question is about food. I have only found one food that doesn’t have chicken fat, potato or peas in it. The food that I have been feeding is California Natural Lamb and Rice. I would love to find a grain free but have not. I wonder if grains bother her as well? Does anyone else have a dog that is allergic to potato? This is a hard one to avoid.

    Nancy, there have been a few times when Luna has been really bad so they have given her a cortisone shot. That has helped.

    Thanks for the info everyone!

    • Stopping

      California Naturals makes a lamb only kibble and a kangaroo and red lentil kibble. EVO does a venison-only canned food. You can also make your own food from rabbit, lamb, even crocodile. Do some research first, as you will need to add supplements, especially calcium. Also, research which ingredients are dangerous before you start cooking. (Onions, for instance, can be fatal.)

    • Megan

      California Natural has Kangaroo and Lentils. It is expensive ($80/big bag), but they have a rewards program that after 10 purchases, you get a free bag. My English bulldog has severe allergies. I can’t afford the testing right now (she is probably allergic to everything under the sun anyways), but I have noticed an improvement of her itching on the Kangaroo and lentils (going on 4th bag). Best of luck!

      • Patti Warren

        Unfortunately, Proctor & Gamble now owns Calif. Natural (Evo and others) and have had a major food recall, still ongoing, since March 2013. We used the Kangaroo & Red Lentils, then April expanded list included the bag we had been consuming. A couple of months later, thought the recall was over, we stayed with CA Natural (Salmon & peas), halfway thru the 15 lb bag, get an email from Wag.com that there was yet another expanded food recall list, and the bag we were consuming was on that list, too. So, we’re done with all things CA Natural and any affiliated foods now manufactured by P&G. Why they don’t check their own food for salmonella contamination BEFORE shipping it out for purchase should be criminal, not just a courtesy “thought you’d like to know you may be feeding salmonella contaminated food” and have to be found out by independent testing. Shameful, used to be one of the best foods on the market until a mega-conglomerate bought it out.

  • Natasha

    We have a 5 year old chocolate lab named joe :) he has an appointment to see an allergy specialist here in Guelph Ontario so he can be tested and prescribed the injections. It has been a very long 5 years for joe and dealing with his allergies. He will scratch so much that he looses all of his hair on his face, chest and legs. He has to wear a cone all allergy season so he doesn’t scratch himself hairless. We have had him on many different types of food and now have him on a vegetarian diet recommended by his vet. He is extremely depressed this time of year and we are hoping this procedure will work for him. Our vet suspects he is allergic to golden rod and rag weed but will know exactly what he is allergic to come October. We have spent hundreds over the past 5 allergy seasons and think this will be the best solution for him. He sneezes so hard his nose has bled and he scratches his legs, face and chest until he bleeds :( he has been on every medication that is available from vanectyl P, steroids, reactin… U name it he’s been on it. So we are crossing our fingers that this works for him. I’m a bit nervous on giving him the injections but I’m sure we will get the hang of it. :) joe is my world and I will do whatever it takes to get rid of his allergy symptoms

  • Brooke

    Nancy, Luna is having an awful August as well. We took her to her vet and they gave her a depomedol (steroid) shot on Saturday morning. She is much better already. Luna just finished her first vial of allergy shots.

    Has anyone heard of Viacom treatment? There is a holistic vet in my area that uses it.

  • Brooke

    Spell checker! It’s Bicom therepy

  • Kirsten

    I came across this website while researching allergy shots for dogs. I currently give my horse two shots every three weeks, along with five hydroxyzine pills a day. I knew she had allergies when she broke out in hives all over her body and only steroids would help for awhile. I cannot be as sure about my dog. I have a two and a half year old Airedale, Ares, who began licking, scratching, and biting around his tail about two weeks ago. The vet found his anal glands were full, and he had more of a reaction with the right one being emptied. Ares received a shot of steroid and had to take hydroxyzine twice a day. The licking ceased for about eight days. He has begun to lick around his tail again, however, not to the extent before the vet visit. We are trying him on hydroxyzine three times a day, but I am concerned with the underlying cause of his licking. Is it allergies or could it be an infection? He does not have any other symptoms of allergies, and the vet checked him for fleas. I am a firm believer in shots or medicine for allergies, I just do not know if he has them. I am going to talk to my vet again, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Melissa

    Just want to share our experience…..

    We got our GSD (German shepherd) when she was 2.5 yo, with chronic ear infections and itchy paws/skin. Her regular vet treated her for a year but she was still uncomfortable (we did allergy shots based on blood work results and put her on Atopica). Took her to a dermatologist when she was 3.5 yo, did intradermal testing, and started her on allergy shots. Her symptoms became 100% under control within six months. She has been symptom-free for almost 3 years now. She just saw her derm vet a couple of weeks ago. The derm vet encouraged us to try discontinuing her shots since she has been doing so well. She released our GSD from her care and told us to follow up only if needed.

    Along with allergy shots, our GSD is on a raw diet with a very HIGH dose of salmon oil. We bathed her frequently (now only once/month, used to bathe her 2-3 times/week with a soap-free shampoo when she was symptomatic), rinse her paws twice a day (after each walk), wipe her down with a damp cloth twice a day (when she was symptomatic), and washed her bedding in hot water every 1-2 days (now twice/week).

    Our initial derm vet visit was $700 (intradermal testing, allergy shots that lasted about 2-3 months), each additional set of allergy shots was $200 (lasted 2-8 months, depending on how often she was getting them, I think we stared at twice/week, then decreased the frequency over time. We have been doing them once/month for the last year or so). We are in Texas.

  • Paula

    We had allergy testing done for our 5 year old golden, Marnie. It showed she was allergic to dust mites (which are everywhere including, possibly, dog food containers). Instead of putting her on injections she has been getting a serum under her tongue. Lots easier than shots! However she has been on the serum for over a year and it does not seem to be doing much good (I’m hoping she’s not in the 15%). I am going to go back to the vet to discuss another round of allergy skin testing.
    The other thing I wanted to point out is I had her testing done at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary school. If you have a vet school near you it is not only cheaper to get the tests done, it is cheaper for the serum. I pay about $150 for 6 months of serum.
    I hope this helps.

  • Brooke

    Today we took Luna to a holoistic vet and tried Bicom. I was/am skeptical but willing to try it. I’ll give an update after we have had a few treatments.

  • Kate

    Our Lab, Willie has been on antigen injections for close to 3 years now. We first tried an elimination diet and found he has no food allergies, which made things a lot easier for us. In the beginning I resisted the idea of allergy testing ($300) and antigen injections ($190 for a 2 month supply) because we honestly don’t make a lot of money. After a year of visiting our vet every other month for Prednisone as well as an antibiotic/antifungal depending on what sort of infection he had worked up with his constant licking/chewing, we decided to give it a shot (no pun intended).

    Within 3-4 months we saw a marked improvement in his symptoms. He still has flare-ups, but we have been able to control them by dosing him with Benadryl for a week or two. His coat is much better, and he is much happier.

    I do the injections while my husband holds out a big spoonful of canned dog food or peanut butter for him to lick. I was apprehensive the first couple of times I had to do it, but it’s easy. We conditioned him during the week we were waiting for his first dose by pulling up the loose skin at the injection site and rubbing it whenever we gave him a treat. Willie actually gets excited and starts to drool when I pull out the needle and the vial of antigen!

    I HIGHLY recommend this treatment if you have not had success with other methods.

  • Hello,

    We are scheduled for a allergy test in the morning and the estimate is very expensive. For the visit, test, and first round of allergy shots it will be $1,300. After that it will be $300 every 2-3 months for refills for the rest of her life. I see in this thread some people pay so much less. We are taking her to the animal hospital in NYC on 62nd and york street. It is truly an amazing well equipped hospital, we have nothing but great things to say about it. But the prices for refills on her allergy injections for the rest of her life is way too much. Is is possible after we get the test done for us to outsource the refills with another manufacturer? The Animal Hospital we are going to (its called The Animal Hospital) tells us they make the custom injections there and the hospital sets the price, not the dermatologist office. Or is it possible for us to get the test done there (because they are amazing) and have the refills made at another vets office? We would love to pay what you guys are paying ($150 for 6 months supply of allergy injections).

    Thanks.

  • Brooke

    You can order it directly from a company. I’m not sure how this done but my daughter worked at a vet so I asked her your question. There were clients who weren’t comfortable giving the shots so they bought the antigen online and brought itil with them. Good luck!

  • Colleen

    Hi there!

    I just adopted a very sweet 1.5yr old heinz 57 named Autumn who came with what I was told was food allergies. They aren’t sure exactly what. Is there any testing for food allergies besides trial and error? The poor baby was just scratching and biting… I just don’t know where to start… Please help!

    Thank you!

    ~ Colleen

  • Denise

    In the Cincy area, my vet does testing for $280 (including 1st vile).

  • Cody

    My 2 Lhasa Apso & both have gone through the hyposensitization regimen with wonderful results. Every Spring, Fall and other weather issues bring the itching & scratching back. I have not been vigilant in giving my pups a maintenance dose of serum the last 2 yrs. (I thought they had out grown their allergies) My oldest dog has gone back to the vet for a steroid shot but it is not enough. Can I start the hyposensitization again with the last bottle of serum?

  • Dee

    My son’s german shepherd has really bad skin allergies. Has been allergy tested and on shots for close to a year, but allergies persist. Goes from temperalP (steroid) to antibiotics and yeast pills. And as soon as he goes off all that, it comes back. Is on a limited ingredient turkey diet. Going to have to go back to dermatologist. My main purpose in writing is to say what a blessing having VPI insurance has been. He pays $300 a year for major medical – after that pays $100 of first claim, after that, everything is paid up to a certain amount for each diagnosis, and the limit is pretty high. It paid for all his allergy testing and vaccines plus numerous vet visits and meds. The only problem is if yours has already been diagnosed with allergies, it may be considered a pre-existing condition. He has had it since he first got his dog, (two years ago) so it had no pre-existing conditions attached. I truly don’t know how he could have afforded to keep his dog – who is the love of his life – without the insurance.

  • Megan

    Sophie is my 8 year old shih tzu and itches constantly ~ feet, body, ears…. I’ve changed her diet many times. Right now she is eating non-grain turkey and potato for dogs with sensitivity. I feel so bad for her. I have been bathing her regularly and this last time with medication for hot spots and itching conditioner. Still didn’t help. I brush her every other day. I’m down to taking her to find out what allergies she has and possibly shots. What do you think?

    • It sounds like you’ve done a lot to try and make her comfortable. Even if you don’t decide to go with allergy shots, the tests will help you to know what your pup is allergic to. Good luck!

  • megan

    I have a 4yr old boxer and for the last 3yrs he has had so many skin problems. We were told skin infections, food allergies, ear infections,ets. He’s been put on antibiotics, he’s got Medrol shots, cyclosporine pills ,shampoos ,hypo-allergenic foods and nothing has seemed to help besides the Medrol shots and its just temporary and I hate that its a steroid they keep injecting because that’s not good for him. Do you think the allergy tests would be a good idea?

  • Heather

    We just adopted a two year old yellow lab. He has severe allergies and tested positive to 33 different allergens, including humans. We live in Las Vegas and the first two derm apts with medications, skin testing and allergy serum (oral not injections) was close to $1300.00. The next dose of allergy medicine has been quoted at about $300-$400 for a 3-4 month supply. He has been on the allergy serum and Atopica for a week and I am holding out hope he is in the 85% group. Right now some of the non-prescription things that help with his itching are bathing him every few days, as well as a couple times a day I rub Gold Bond anti itch medicated cream on him. I have also found that spraying and rubbing Apple Cider Vinegar onto his skin helps some too. Good luck to everyone!

  • Dawn

    There is some very good info at healthypets.mercola.com Good Luck.

  • Maria

    We were told by our vet to do the blood allergy test. We did. The test came back as our dog is not allergic to anything. We currently give our dog Termaril every other day for the allergies. The vet seemed confused with the outcome. The vet said that unless they were on Termaril for “months and months” would that change the outcome of the results. When I reminded that our dog has been on Termaril for months and months they back tracked and said that it wouldn’t be the case. I don’t know if they back tracked because they didn’t want to give another test they would pay for or not. The lab will not talk to us to ask us if this drug will change the results. The vet is telling us for us to retest (we pay) in 6 months. We feel completely ripped off. What should we do?

    • Jenna

      Hi Maria -
      I’d demand another test. Our vet told us we had to have our dog off of all steriods and everything for at least 30 days before the test or it would compromise the results. Good Luck!

  • Amy

    Hi, I have a bluetick hound/ german shorthaired pointer mix I rescued 4 years ago. I’m at a loss as to what to do next. She’s constantly biting/licking her feet,tail,belly and has extremely dry skin. We tried the limited ingredient diets with no success we tried every grain free/chicken free food they make because we were told many animals have chicken allergies.We also tried putting salmon oil on her food. She’s been on benadryl,prednisone, special shampoos etc. At my wits end I had blood allergy testing done. She’s allergic to chicken,beef,fish,rice, several weeds,dust,molds etc. I called my vet today and asked about allergy shots they are 130/6 months. I worry though since she is allergic to some foods if this will work for her?

  • Debbie

    I have Belgian Tervuren puppy, almost 11 months old. He’s had skin itching since he was three months old. I went from my local vet to a dermatologist specialist vet who put him on a food trial with Science Diet Z/D prescription food and Prednisolone 5 mg. The Pred helped a lot, but the food didn’t help and caused major gastrointestinal upset, colitis, etc. In November, 2012 I took him to another dermatologist specialist in Southern California. That vet did the blood work for allergy testing, and changed his diet to Iams Kangeroo and Oat (Response) and changed prednisolone to Temeril-P. I got an instant response to the new food. No more gastrointestinal upset. Happy dog with the food. He’s allergic to maples, rye grass, dust mites, etc. Vet put him on allergy shots. increasing doses every other day from .1 cc to 1 cc from vial 1, and then vial 2, every other day from .2cc to 1cc. Everything was going well until day 25 vial 2, .8cc shot when I noticed dog wasn’t feeling so hot after the shot. Vet changed his dose to .5 cc once per week, and the second week dog got hives and increased his itch level to 10. The only time he’s doing his best is on the days he gets the Temeril P, on the days he gets the shot he’s miserable. So, now vet changed his shot to .25cc twice per week. The response to the shots is that he is supposed to get better and get relief, not get worse, which he has been after each shot. This breed is known for sensitivity to medications, so perhaps this will be the right combo. My dog has completely blown his coat, is itchy all over on days off from Temeril-P. Yet, I’m hanging in there with these shots because I have heard they are quite effective 70-75% of the time and that is worth the chance to make my dog well and not itchy. He has only had a couple rip roaring infections on his belly requiring antibiotics, but not since he’s been on the shots. I’m taking him in for a thyroid test of his blood this week as I’m thinking that perhaps he has other issues as well. Otherwise, he’s a happy dog, plays rough, always bright and cheerful despite his itchy skin. Thanks for everyone who contributed here. We are the lucky ones, to get an itchy dog. :-(

  • mike rodriguez

    I have a 2 year old english bulldog that has had skin problem for over a year.. I have taken him to 4 different veternarians, All they do is give him steroid shots, antibiotic shots, Sprays, Pills, Shampoos and nothing seems to work.. I have changed his food several times, but still no changes, He bites and scatches himself constantly, I even bought him an inflatable cone to wrap around his neck so he cant bite his paws. Im trying to find an inexpensive allergy at home test kit because the vets charge way too much to do the allergy test.. any suggestions?

  • L

    Had my dog tested at MSPCA-Angell by Dr Klaus Loft, excellent team there.
    Shots start on Monday…we both feel better already!
    Sure it’s expensive, but so is going to the vet every 3 or 4 months and getting bandaid treatments.
    The maintenance costs will be about $30 a month.

  • L

    My dog is so much more comfortable already, even though she is still on vial #1, the expertise of the specialist (vet dermatologist) is crucial, one vet may interpet test results differently from another, the treatment plan: injections and frequency is unique to each individual pet, including the pharmacy used.
    This is not the time to try save a few bucks imo.
    Ask around, find out who has a good reputation before making an appointment for your dog.

  • L

    Interpret not interpet!

    Seriousouly, if the pruritis, ear infections, hot spots, red eyes have been going on for a year (4 seasons) without any significant periods of relief.
    You did the elimination diet, steroids, antihistamines, air purifier, oatmeal baths, threw out old blankets etc etc etc….consider going to a specialist.

  • Anna

    I have a 3 year old pit bull that has severe allergies. We were taking her to her vet over and over again where we were prescribed antibiotics… the vet at some point recommended that we see a specialist as she was thinking that our baby girl was suffering and was no longer responding to meds. We took her to the dermatologist. They did the blood test because of some slightly abnormal kidney functions a few months ago so the dermatologist suggested to do the blood test just to be on the safe side. We found that she is allergic to some trees, grass, weeds, cockroaches, dust mites, and tobacco. She will be starting her allergy shots on the 25th of this month… any advice? I am planning on starting the shots on my days off so I can monitor her…. anything I need to watch for? Any side effects? Your advice and feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks

    Anna & DeeDee

  • Sandra

    Our Sadie is 4 1/2 years old, a dermatologist did her blood and skin test to show severe allergies to dust mites, wool, feathers and cedar. We have put her on a grain free kibble (fish and potato) and she gets no other protein (except peanut butter) – dermatologist tells us that there is no known allergy to peanut butter for dogs – thank goodness! I make her home made treats and that is all she is allowed. She gets an injection by me every 3 weeks and has just had a relapse this month after a year of injections…very frustrating! Allergy testing cost us about $800, 5 months worth of serum is $225…just spent another $500 at the vet on new medicine to help clear up her skin again. I swear she is human though! My third child :) She is bathed in oatmeal soap free shampoo from the vet every two weeks to help when her skin isn’t cooperating. The dermatologist was a big decision as we couldn’t really afford it…but if it was one of your human children you wouldn’t hesitate…and we felt it was our responsibility as a pet owner to do whatever we could to help her. Good luck with your itchy little friends…

  • L

    My small dog is doing very well, I did notice occasional pruritis especially when she started on vial#2, the prescription shampoo Malaseb provided relief.

    Watch your dog carefully for 1 hour after the injections for an increase in allergy symptoms. I have only had to give her prn Prednisone once so far, I don’t like to give it, because she became aggressive toward my other dog when on it.

    However, there is liquid Prednisone that works faster if she has a negative reaction to immunotherapy…I have that on hand now, you may want to ask your dr if that’s an option.

    I put a snug tank top on her too, it seems to help prevent skin damage if she scratches and decreases exposure a little.

  • L

    One more thing, I read it’s best to give the shots at least one hour prior or one hour after after meals.

  • L

    I am not comfortable giving my 10 pound dog that will probably be receiving immunotherapy for the rest of her life, any more vaccines.

    http://www.thedogplace.org/VACCINES/Rabies-exemption-form-states-2012.asp

    However, I am finding that vets are reluctant to sign the rabies vaccine waiver.

  • L

    My dog received the last injection from vial #2 this morning, she seemed a little itchy, so I gave he a prn (liquid childrens etoh free) Benadryl with good effect. Check with your vet re dosage or if this is even an option for your dog.
    I am still pleased with immunotherapy…she is much better!

  • Kira

    I am leaning toward trying the shots for my 5 year old dog who was tested for allergies last year. She’s allergic to almost every type of grass, dust mites, storage mites, pine trees, dander, a couple weeds. Have tried everything!!! I haven’t the shots because I read how they take long to work and don’t help all dogs, and my vet was confident that he could help her with his enzymes powders and plant steroids. They did help for a while but when allergy season (spring) kicked in full she is back to suffering in full too – gets real bad skin sores and red skin. So since she was tested with HESKA already I am probably going to get shots from them, I’m just doing a bit more research. Thank you so much for this information and all those who comment.

  • Euge

    Hi! I would really appreciate your advice. I have a 4 year old lab with allergies that started when he was 1 year old. We have tried everything, moved houses twice, changed food, changed vet, but in my country (uruguay) there are no vet specialist or clinics and nobody would do a test blood or other on him! I need to find a treatment and test that I can ship to a company in another country is that possible? And if so, will they ship the medicine to my country? Here theres nothing more i can do than to give him prednison. Excuse my english! thank you

  • L

    My dog is on vial#3 and will now be going to a maintenance shot every 2 weeks.
    She is doing well, still a little itchy now and then, but nothing like before.
    This morning when I gave her the shot, my other dog jumped on me, so I’m not sure she got the full injection, as her hair was a little wet at the site, so I gave her a tiny bit more to be sure….and worried about it, but all is well :)
    The pollen count is high in my area and she is comfortable and able to enjoy the outdoors!
    She will have her follow up appointment in a couple of weeks.
    I hope everyone else is doing well.

  • L

    @Euge, there must be a College of Veterinary Medicine near you? I would call them and ask for a recommendation. Please let us know how it goes.
    My dog is doing so much better since starting immunotherapy, sure it costs a few bucks at first, but I think it is worth it in the long run. They will warn you however, that it does not help all dogs…

  • Connie

    I have a 1 yr old female GSD who suffered from allergies from 3 months old. She was on a steroid 3 or 4 times when she became too bad. We were able to controlled it through the winter months w giving her a bath 1 a week in special shampoo and putting her on a limited ingredient diet. (We had her tested and found out she is allergic to most grasses along with oats, barley, sweet potatoes, salmon amongst other things.). A week ago we decided to try the allergy shots. We have given shot number 5. I feel horrible giving her them so my husband has to do it. She seems to be a tad bit more itchy but not bad at all. However, she is very aggressive at times. We were just getting to a good place with her fear-related aggression issues. I hope this doesn’t take us backwards.

    Has anyone experienced aggression in their dogs when giving the shots? Does it get better? Is there a solution?

    Thank you!

  • L

    No, not with the shots, could the aggression be a left over side effect from the Prednisone? Increased aggression is not uncommon with dogs that are on steroids. My dog (11 pound poodle mix) has been getting the shots since early March and her condition has improved, she only gets the shots every 2 weeks now, she will see the specialist next week for a checkup.
    I try not to give her the prn Prednisone when she has an itchy episode, instead I give her a little prn Benadryl (childrens etoh free liquid.
    I would call your vet and report any side effects/reactions from the shots.

    PS: I did note some aggressive behavior when she received Prednisone, not every time…but enough that I try not to give it. I also noted good effects from the prescription shampoo Malaseb.

  • L

    Just wanted to make a correction regarding Benadryl; saw the specialist today and he told me to use the regular tablets not the childrens etoh free.
    There is an ingredient (sorbitol?) in it that dogs don’t break down well.

    My dog is stable we discussed the shots, how often to give etc, unless her condition changes or something comes up we don’t have to return for a year!

  • L

    Anyone else notice weight gain after starting immunotherapy?
    Maybe she’s just burning less calories cause she’s not scratching as much, lol
    Or maybe I have been giving her an extra treat here and there.
    I’ll watch her diet more carefully and see what happens.

  • janice

    We have a four year old black lab who has had allergies for over a year. at first we thought she had mange. she looked just like the pictures of a dog with mange. She has been on Termaril p for over a year and antibiotics off and on. She has cost us a lot of money. Her liver enzymes are supposed to be between 5-131 and they were over 1000. So the steroids will eventually kill her. we are doing the blood and skin test friday with a dermatologist. knowing what we know now we would have spent the money on the allegy test. also our vet said temaril p does not work on food allergies and dust mites are the number one environmental allergan. If Layla was 10 years old i would just keep her on the steroid but she is only four so we have to help her. She is so smart she can walk off leash and like most labs she is a water dog and fetching maniac. I love this dog like i love my kids. I pray to God this can help her friday. Sucks when dogs have health problems.

  • L

    Janice, I have had dogs for over 30 years and this is the first one that required the care of a specialist.
    She has been receiving immunotherapy since March, her skin has cleared up, she only scratches occasionally. The prescription shampoo Malaseb and prn Benadryl keep her comfortable. This month she is getting the shots every 10 days(high pollen count) but it looks like she will be able to go back to 1 shot every 2 weeks then every 3 weeks soon.
    The initial testing and vials are expensive, but the maintenance cost is not that bad (for my dog about $30 a month)
    I alternate the weekly prescription shampoo baths with oatmeal shampoo with good effect.
    I will only use the liquid Prednisone for an emergency, I think it caused her some weight gain.
    My dog is age 4, the allergies tend to show up at this time, and tend to get worse with age.
    I went to MSPCA-Angell in Boston. I have had 2 visits, because she is stable my next appointment is in late spring, unless her condition changes.
    The treatment is confusing at first, I hope it works for your dog.
    When I was concerned about food allergies, my dog did well on Nutrisca grain free dry salmon, she now is on Solid Gold Barking at the Moon grain free,
    I never had her tested for food allergies.

  • Lisa

    My Olde English Bulldogge Steela began itching, breaking out and losing hair when she was 4 months old. We did steroids and antibiotics for about a year before the cycle never seemed to be broken and allergies were year-round. We also did a sweet potato and venison food trial to no avail. We saw an animal dermatologist who put her on Atopica and ketoconozole daily. We reduced it to every other day, but she still had the occasional flare up that resulted in a skin staph infection and required antibiotics. We wash her bedding every week and bath her once a week with an antimicrobial shampoo. She is still on a grain-free diet. At 2 1/2 this past spring, Steela developed a resistant staph infection and was put on chloramphenicol based on sensitivity test results. A month later, she experienced problems with her liver, as her ALT enzymes were almost 1700 (should be less than 100). She was in ICU for 5 days and the Dr. said no more Atopica or ketoconozole. We tried giving her Zyrtec, but less than a month later, she broke out again. She is now on an antibiotic for the bacterial infection and is scheduled for intradermal testing next week. These allergy shots are really our last hope. The medical bills have nearly broke me, but I am willing to pay for something that actually works. I am also not keen on sticking her with a needle, but I will do what I need to do to help her. Please send good thoughts that they can help Steela. She really is a loving, sweetheart of a dog who deserves to be well. Thank you for listening.

  • L

    They have a sublingual form of the treatment if you have an aversion to giving the shots, but it’s only a small needle….well they’ll show you.
    Good luck with your pup.

  • kathy k

    Rusty my papillon was adopted from the shelter at 19 months, The thought was he had an mega esophgus ME because he had the the back word sneeze and throw up a lot of mucus and then his food. He was under weight 5 bls , and yecky hair. He had trouble running or going for walks outside because he would cough and then the mucus would. I felt for some reason that this didn’t look like a ME. I asked the vet to check for allergies and he had few, grasses,humans weeds ect. The shots didn’t work at first. A month or so later I decided on food check on Rusty. He was allergic to lamb and rice ,soy,oatmeal to name a few.We also had added a child clariton 12 melt away also.I found a food sojois and the first snow and all his symptoms quit.He is 4 years now. Weight 8.6 bls and hair looks good.He still scratches some but no extra vet visits. The are up to $155 which i would like to find a lower cost.I give the shots which hard for because that is why I didn’t go into nursing school. I am CNA

  • Maria

    I have a 4 year old yorkiepoo. We started giving her allergy shots about 8 months ago. We still can’t seem to get the right dose. We thought that .1 was working, but not that spring and summer are here, we are starting at .2 then .3 if necessary. did anyone have trouble figuring out what the correct dose is for their dog? We are starting to get very discouraged and we are afraid we might be in the 30% that shot do not work for. Any advice would be appreciated? The other problem is we cannot give our dog a steroid because she has a leg that requires surgery and will need to take rimadyl on occassion until after the surgery.

  • L

    @Maria, I know with my little poodle mix (11 pounds), also 4+ years old, we worked up to the 1cc vial#3 shot every 2 weeks, every 10 days if she’s having a hard time, every 3 weeks in the winter and when symptoms decrease.
    She started treatment in March and although she still scratches occasionally, her condition is much improved.
    I would call your vet/specialist and review her treatment plan, document her symptoms in relation to when she gets the shots.

  • Denise

    My 9 year old lab seems to have allergies. Last April/May she began to avoid the grass, then lost much of her coat, especially on her belly and ears. She “air scratched” all the time. Prednisone, Chlor Trimeton & Omega-3 seemed to resolve. Fast forward, same time this year, symptoms came back. We’ve got her in a holding pattern with Prednisone, but she is not improving. I live in Morris County (northen) NJ, and would love help to find a bright, compassionate and reasonably priced allergist. Thank you!

  • L

    Chicken/egg is a common food allergy, I ran out of chicken/chicken broth a few days ago and noticed my dog stopped scratching.

    So, even though I had done the elimination diet back when, without clear results, she was reacting to pollens at the time. In retrospect I should have had the blood test along with the skin test.

    They definitely can have both, environmental and food allergies.

    Wellness Simple limited ingredients (fish), Newman Organics organic beef canned,
    both contain NO chicken/egg.

  • Cathy Gronau

    Our Johnson American Bulldog, Dax, was the most amazing dog I have ever owned. We got him at age 3 and he had the most horrible skin disease I have ever witnessed. The Bulldog Specialist told us that his skin allergies were genetic so we didn’t bother with the allergy testing. He died at 8 1/2 years young from severe skin allergies, hip and shoulder dysplacia (which I believe was due to monthly cortisone shots). We spent nearly $30,000. in vet bills in the last 5 years of his life. We will forever regret not doing allergy testing on our most amazing dog. I now have two Scott American Bulldogs (Mother and Son) and the Son, Tank, has developed allergies. Luckily, I have both dogs insured through Healthy Paws Pet Insurance when I first adopted them. At 8 months old, I have begun the allergy testing. We will know the results in two weeks. Our test cost $1,008. but if I can control his allergies it will be worth every penny. It was horrifying watching our big beautiful Dax die the way he did and I feel so sad when I think I could have taken the other route. I trusted the Bulldog Specialist word and should have had him tested. We just never had a dog with so many problems before. Just wanted to encourage anyone out there; get your testing done. It is worth it in the long run and best of luck to all the loving dog Owners.

  • Heather

    Ok so first off reading everyones comments makes me feel a little better thought I was alone, in this problem. I have a 6 month year old German Shepard/Golden Retriever, named Shadow. I have had him for 3 months and the last two months he has started itching all the time, he has a bald spot right above his tail, his sides itch. I have changed his food to blue buffalo grain free. which didnt seem to do anything, so I took him to the vet who suggested the alergy blood test $375 i think is crazy, but then she also said once they find out what hes alergic to, there is a series of shots. At this time its not something i can afford. so she put shadow on a medical shampoo, a omega 3 fatty acid pill and a steroid pill. this was yesterday, so hopefully this will help him. I feel horrible i cant afford to do the allergy testing. what i feel shadow is alergic to is grass and maybe some of the bugs that fly around in my back yard. Does anyone know of a natural spray that keeps bugs out of the grass? I spray him down when we have long days outside. I hope that the pills and the shampoo will help. -Heather

  • L

    I just wanted to share this article, also excellent price on Malaseb shampoo
    http://www.californiapetpharmacy.com/malaseb-shampoo-16oz.html

    By Klaus Loft, DVM

    Angell Dermatology Service

    617-524-5733

    Anyone who suffers debilitating environmental allergies tied to changing seasons, pet dander or household dust mites knows first-hand the misery of a scratchy throat, itchy eyes or painful rashes.

    Not everyone knows, however, that our pets can experience similar allergic reactions — and other very bothersome dermatological issues. But our pets need not suffer in silence. Modern veterinary science has evolved such that advanced, comprehensive treatments are now available to treat a range of skin conditions.

    Top pet dermatological issues

    Our four-legged friends suffer from some of the same skin issues as we do — and several that we do not. The most common conditions we see at Angell include:

    •Parasites, such as mites, fleas and mange (scabies)
    •Infectious diseases, such as Staphylococcal pyoderma (“Staph”) skin infections, yeast and fungal infections and skin fold infections
    •Systemic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases
    •Skin cancer, such as Squamous cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma, Mast cell tumors
    •Allergies, such as flea allergy dermatitis, adverse food reactions, environmental allergies, etc.

    All of these conditions can become serious and, if untreated, dramatically reduce quality of life. But the tremendous strides made in veterinary innovation, however, is very good news for our pets. Specifically, the testing and treatments for allergies now rivals human healthcare in its sophistication, quality of care and long-term health outcomes.

    ‘Doc, it itches when I do this!’

    Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot tell us about their dermatological health issues. So we as pet owners must look for the signs. The most common indicators that a pet is suffering from some kind of allergy involve frequent episodes of ear infections, red raised or open sores on the skin, constant licking or biting of paws or groin — sometimes causing wounds that will not go away.

    Allergies present a particular challenge because there can be hundreds (even thousands) of potential allergens that impact pet health, from foods to pollen from grasses, weeds, trees, dust mites and more. Today’s specialty veterinary hospitals have access to the very latest diagnostic tests to get to the bottom of what’s ailing our pet. Among these tests is the Intra Dermal Test (IDT).

    IDT is generally considered the gold standard of testing for identifying allergens that cause pets to suffer from chronic skin and/or ear diseases. IDT involves injections of a series of concentrated allergens into the skin to determine which of them generate allergic reactions in a given animal. The use of fluorescein — a chemical that illuminates the inflammation caused by the injected allergens in order to visualize the strength of individual reactions — is key to accurately diagnosing pet allergies, and is just one of the many ways veterinarians use new technologies to improve care and diagnostics.

    The results of IDT (as well as a review of the pet’s medical history) can then inform comprehensive immunotherapy treatments to relieve suffering. Veterinary dermatologists rely on IDT to build customized treatment plans for patients called Allergen Specific Immuno Therapy or “ASIT” for short.

    ASIT involves a series of injections specifically created for the allergic animal’s skin. These injections, of diluted allergens, are designed to make a pet less sensitive to their allergens over time. In most cases these injections must be continued for life to reduce symptoms, but they are highly effective. Seventy to 90 percent of pets experience a reduction in symptoms as a result of ASIT treatment. These treatments can be delivered even more easily via droplets under the tongue, perfect for pet owners who are squeamish about giving injections to their pet.

    Dog is prepared for Intra Dermal Testing

    This treatment is very new to the North American field of medicine (both human and veterinary) and underscores just how far innovation in veterinary medicine has come.

    When it’s time to see the vet

    Many pet owners are understandably concerned about taking their animals to the veterinarian because the cost (to say nothing of the fear some animals experience when going do the doctor) may outweigh any perceived reduction in suffering. To help pet owners know when it’s time to bring Fido to the doctor I’ve compiled my “Top Ten” list of dermatological symptoms that should never be ignored:

    •Intense itching of the skin (head shaking, running the face into the carpet, furniture, etc.)
    •Biting at the skin that creates red, raw crusting areas of the skin
    •Multiple ear infections (head shaking, odor from ears, scratching at the ears with hind legs)
    •Paw licking or chewing and frequent infections of the skin in the webbed skin of the paws
    •Staining of the fur of the paws and nails on multiple feet
    •Reoccurring skin infections in the groin, under the shoulders, perianal areas (on or under the tail)
    •Greasy scaling skin and/or fur with odorous skin
    •Hair loss, or thinning of the fur
    •Dark pigmentation of the skin that is chronically infected
    •Sudden depigmentation of skin

    Allergies and other dermatological issues can be as frustrating for pet owners and their veterinarians as they can be for pets. I encourage any pet owner whose animal is experiencing any of these symptoms to consult with their veterinarian. To contact Angell’s Dermatology service, please call 617-524-5643 or email dermatology@angell.org.

  • Aly

    Hi there I have a 2 year old shiba inu male who is developing allergies, the vet says the presentation is unusual, his eyes puff up and he tears at his muzzle and scratches his eyes so hard they will bleed. He is currently on steroids and prescription dog food ($140 :( 22pounds) but I worry what will happen when the steroid percription is done. I would like to do the allergy testing but my vet seems skeptical for some reason, she says usually the presentation for treatable allergies is body/feet itching, hot spots and licking but my male scratches his poor face so bad he has to wear a cone. The vet has tested for mites and other potential causes I am just wondering if anyone else has had experience with a facialy located allergy and only facial his paws, back and everywhere else he does not scratch or bite abnormally thank you.

    • Jillian

      Aly, we are struggling with the same issue. Chanel, an 11-month old rescue developed itchy eyes in October…not the traditional allergy season here in Southern California. We’ve taken her to the vet a few times. First, she tried children’s Benadryl. The only thing that did was make her too drowsy to really care about anything. The second trip to the vet she was prescribed a steroid. We didn’t see much change from that. We’ve since put her on the Natures Balance food but she continues to itch her eyes. She’s getting so bad that she’s even itching when she normally was distracted enough to not itch, like when we go outside to play. We are going to try the bland diet of chicken and white rice just to see if we can determine if its a food allergy. I’m really at a loss because like you say, she doesn’t have the same symptoms that other dogs with typical allergies have. Our vet frankly had no insight into strictly itchy eyes. Hope to hear back on any progress you’ve made!

  • Terri

    My dog has been treated for 6 years or so now with allergy serum.. allergic to grass trees mold dust etc. I’m interested in possibly changing companies. They tend to increase their prices every year.

  • Terri

    I’m in the detroit mi area…would like some other company names

  • L

    @Aly, I would make an appointment with a specialist, a veterinarian who specializes in dermatology/allergies, and go from there.
    I actually got incorrect information from the regular vet.
    The prednisone can have nasty side effects if they have to be on it a long time.

    Skin testing and the blood test done by a specialist is the only way to really identify the cause…..imo

  • [...] The allergy injections could take 2-6 months or sometimes more to start working.  In general 75% dogs are helped quite a lot by the injections and the dog owners are satisfied they went through with the treatment protocol.  The injections are easy to give and painless for the dog.  We make sure you can administer them properly in the exam room.  For more detailed information click here. [...]

  • Alli

    I adopted a dog in May and then moved to a new city for work. She started having random reactions and would turn red and itch constantly. It kept getting worse and she had been on steroids and allergens from June to present day. My vet suggested a blood allergy test and her results came back with dust mites, wool, dandelions, and cockroaches. I decided to go with the shots because nothing else has worked!!! We are on month one of the shots and have reached 1.0 ml tomorrow. I can’t help but be upset because she is even worse while on these shots! She has hot spots everywhere! Major balding and hair loss and scabs from constantly scratching. She is in bad shape. This is my first dog and I’m just worried these shots are just too much for her. Thoughts??

  • Anakins mommy

    I was told by our most recent vet that my puppy will need to be seen for testing,as they have tried everything they can to help him.I don’t want my baby to suffer anymore but am unsure we have done everything other then allergy testing,what might we have missed??

  • L

    @Anakins mommy, Read the prior posts….

    Many of us have been through this, bought air purifiers, dehumidifiers, thrown out blankets, carpets etc.

    Malaseb shampoo helps, found it to be reasonably priced here

    http://www.californiapetpharmacy.com/malaseb-shampoo-16oz.html

    I don’t regret having the testing done (skin) by a specialist 7 months ago, I definitely see improvement.

  • Pat

    I am new to all this. We had our great Pyrenees, Luke ( I have two GP) allergy tested at 4 months old and again at 18 months old. First one showed minor food allergies, which I thought was odd, since it was only what he had for dinner the night before, nothing more. Itching and loss of hair on his belly continued. He does not scratch anywhere except the belly and lower chest area, so he is bald on his underside. Otherwise he looks great on top. We took the outside allergen test and he is on the high side for some trees, grass and especially some sort of fungus that is in the soil around here in West Texas. I just got the word today. This site is helpful because I did not know I might be giving the shots and it would be so often. I just want him to be itch free and look as beautiful as his brother. I have already spent over 2 grand for monthly shots, tests and the like. I am not sure how I can eliminate much of these allergens. We live on acreage in the country and dust allergens and other outside allergens is just a given around here. I am glad to see the odds are with us. Thanks for all the information.

  • L

    My dog kept itching….but not as bad as before starting immunotherapy.
    The immunotherapy is now every 3 weeks and will continue.

    I recently made some changes to her diet and found she has been itching much less, almost not at all.

    I am feeding her Wellness Simple no grain fish dry food, 1/4 cup with a spoonful of baked sweet potato and a spoonful of baked cod (cooked in water)twice a day. Plus a squirt of salmon oil once a day.

    I thought this information might help someone, it’s hard to find the right combo when your dog has both environmental and food allergies.

  • L

    Correction: I meant to say BONELESS cod, in my previous post.

  • Roxy

    Hi. My 6 year old chocolate lab, has severe allergies. She licks until she is bald and bleeding. Antihistamines do not work. Steroids do work but I don’t want her on them for long periods of time. She has developed terrible infections of the ear, and bacterial infections in her paw, which at times has had her limping and unable to walk, all of this is allergy related. We are going to do the allergy testing, but due to the significant price differences, I am not sure which one is better for us. Blood test is 350 and skin test is 700. Is one test more reliable than the other?

  • g

    We adopted our yellow lab mix a year and a half ago (when he was 7), and have been trying to clear up his skin issues and chronic ear infections since the day we got him. Switching to a fish and no grain diet (first Origens, then Nutrisca since it’s potato-free) helped, as have frequent (weekly) shampoos with Duoxo, and antibiotics, but we didn’t want to keep him on antibiotics forever. Moreover, he’s still prone to ear infections, despite frequent washing and application of Duoxo pipettes. So, we just had him tested for allergies, and he was allergic to almost all the 60+ items tested for (humans, cats, dust mites, most trees, shrubs, weeds, and insects. We’ll be starting shots soon and hoping they work! This pup has been a lot of work, and it’s hard to see him suffer.

  • L

    @Roxy, I only did the skin testing……but that won’t tell the food allergies.
    So, I might as well have done the blood test too, because through trial and error I found out that many protein foods (poultry, beef, eggs) make her itchy.
    I mentioned a diet in a prior post that seems to work for her.

    Dogs can have both environmental and food allergies, and it is hard to figure which one is causing what at times.

  • sunshine

    hello. I have 5 years old dog. she is doing well with allergy shots for one year. will it be okay to change the allergy injection brand? as my vet said that she can make her own allergy shots. Thank you

  • Nicola Gosse

    I have a one year old male GSD. He has been scratching and biting his skin since a puppy. We have tried all types of foods, even raw with no relief. Finally decided to do blood allergy testing and it came back positive for chicken, wheat, dairy, fish, cedar, dust, some grasses and pollens. We started him on small dose of prednisone as the reactine antihistamine was not working very well. The blood tests have given us something to work with and a sense of control since we were adding cod liver oil, salmon oil and raw chicken into his diet thinking we were helping. Sadly, we were making it worse!!
    Today I ordered the allergy shots for his inhalation allergies of dust, pollens and moulds. Hopefully with a change of diet, bedding and being more mindful of his sensitivites we will see a big improvement. Already he is calmer, relaxed and far less agitated.
    Luckily we have pet insurance so 80% of the cost was covered. Allergy testing is quite expensive but so worth it for peace of mind.

  • Stella

    My rescue dog has sensitive skin and is constantly having allergic skin reactions. Vet had just suggested the allergy testing and shots. Based on my own experience, I am going to do it . I have bad allergies and have almost completed a 3.5 year immunotherapy treatment called SLIT (drops under tongue) . It has made my allergies 80% better and I no longer have to take daily allergy meds. I would highly recommend this treatment for anyone with allergies. Hopeful this will help my sweet boy dog.

  • L

    @sunshine, I wouldn’t muck around with or change a thing if your dog is having good results. I would not change pharmacies, just my opinion.

  • Patty Offenberg

    My dog just had the testing at the Vets office. Yes it is costly and the shots going forward are also but the relief
    He should I hope receive is well worth it I think. He is a 3 year old Labradoddle and since bringing him to
    Texas his allergies have gone to the moon but I understand that IF in the state you were living you had a mild
    Case coming to Texas or Arizona he would worsen greatly. And it did!

    If anyone reading this is in Texas I sure would be happy to exchange emails and keep in touch and see all we
    Might be able to learn from each other.

  • Emma

    I have gone through much of what others have said on this forum. My 3 year old GSD should signs of allergies around 8 months. We did the intradermal testing. We have been giving her the desensitizing shots for a year and a half. No, difference. I am not sure when to give up on the shots. She also seems to be allergic to plastic/rubber….whatever the plastic type balls are made of. After playing with them repeatedly she will scratch her mouth. I have tried shampoos, creams, sprays, fish oil, coconut oil, switching her food(she has always been on grain free)….at this point the only thing I do is management. The only medication that works is prednisone (which is not good for her), she is on 20mg every other day, I bath her 2-3 times a month, fish oil, Vit E, coconut oil, moducare, frequent brushing, and she still is itchy. Though all of this manages it enough that she doesn’t lose her fur. You couldn’t tell that she has bad allergies by looking at her, though you look closely at her skin she has red blotches. She has scratched behind her ears to the point she bleeds. I am trying everything to get her off of the prednisone. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. How long do we keep using the allergy shots w/ no improvement? Thanks for your time.

  • sandy

    My poor Sady has been itching for the last 3 years. I brought her to a doggie dermatolgist and first we did a food allergy test for a few months and was able to rule food out . I was never able to test her after that because just to test her would have cost $1,400 and being unemployed it was a lot of money I couldn’t afford. Still looking for a more reasonable place to have her tested.

  • Dalimar

    Hello everyone!!! I rescue an American Bullie 6 months ago. At the time, he seemed to have intolerance problems to food, but it also reflects in his skin. About a month ago, he presented a severe skin contact allergy so I decided to make him the allergens test. He is allergic to almost everything!!! So I decided to make a food change (he only tolerate salmon and turkey) and after trying with 6 different brands, finally the Basics Turkey and Potato Recipe for Adult Dogs from BLUE seems to resolve his stomach and intestinal issues. I highly recomend this one for the very allergic ones!!! I but it in Petsmart.

    Also decided to try him with the allergy shots. Today he received his second shot of 0.1mg. I should say that I stay awake almost all night after giving him the shot because he present skin signs of allergy, specially around his eyes. Im concerned that I go to sleep and it get worse. I want to know if somebody has experience this reaction in his dogs and if this is normal? The vet told me it could happen, and if it did, I can give him Benadryl for the inflamation. Did the Benadryl interfere with the allergy shots creating a stronger inmune system?

    I live in Puerto Rico, and here exist no veterinary specialized in skin problems (dermatology). So I was wonder if someone can help me with my doubts. My dog vet has 20 plus years of experience, but not much experience with so severe allery. His allergy test cost me $250.00 and his 4 months shots cost me $150.00. He told me his treatment could extend for almost a year. The other dog that have skin allergy responded well to treatment and seems to be a lot better of his allergy.

    I should say that I’m allergic/intolerant to gluten so I need to have a gluten free diet and look for all products I used. After the diagnosis, the sking problems and so the stomach one was very painfull and dificult. I cant tell how this could be to someone (our dogs) that cant talk neither express how they feel!!!! Hope your doggies get better and receive the best life quality you both deserve!!!!!

  • L

    I found a lot of helpful information at this site: http://vitalanimal.com/

  • L

    @Dalimar: My dog has been receiving immunotherapy since last May and is doing much better, although she still has an occasional itchy day. I give her 1/2 of a 25mg Benadryl tablet (12.5mg) as needed every 8 hours when this happens. She weighs 10 pounds. I don’t use the liquid Benadryl, my vet says it contains sorbitol which doesn’t agree with dogs.

    I have prn liquid Prednisone on hand in case she has a severe reaction, I don’t like to use it because of the potential side effects. Ask your vet if you should have some…just in case.

  • S.S

    This site was super helpful and reassuring. I just took my 1 year old Bichon to the dermatologist on Wednesday and it came back that he is 12 different allergies to a bunch of different grasses, molds and also to house dust and cotton (cotton was a huge shocker). I gave him his shot today and my little trooper did a great job tolerating it. I did have a couple of questions for all of you out there going through the same thing a) I was very concerned when I heard that he was allergic to cotton, because my furniture, clothes, bedding is all cotton-I mean is there anything I can really do? I am just worried I am putting him at a disadvantage to healing quicker/having less symptoms 2) I am very hopeful that the vaccines will work, but are there any long term negative side effects (i.e. organ damage, heart problems, joint problems, etc…)? Finally 3) I have kept him on a strict diet, as I was not sure if it was a food allergy or what (prior to Wednesday), the diet didn’t help alleviate any symptoms, so is it safe to assume that he is not allergic to any food or should I continue the diet? The doctor said it was a very slim chance, but I just wanted to ask in case. In advance, I thank everyone for taking the time to read this and answering back with any advice.

    I wish all of you and your wonderful pets the best for always!

    Thanks!

  • L

    My dog has several allergies too, one of being the common skin and dust mites! They are everywhere, so I don’t think anyone should go nuts and throw out everything the dog is allergic to.
    If the dog is allergic to cotton for example, I would make sure her bedding was of another material. Hopefully the immunotherapy will work and she won’t react to the allergens after a while.
    I didn’t have the food testing…for a while I thought chicken made her itchy, so I avoided that. But now she is eating it again without any problems.
    I was using Wellness Simple (dry) fish, I ran out of it and made her some home cooked food, lean meat, rice, veggies. Lo and behold, she’s not scratching! I think some allergic dogs have food sensitivities, maybe to the additives…so I try to keep her diet simple.
    That is what’s working now, I’m not giving her the kibble. I do give her a frozen raw bone marrow bone a few times a week and I brush her teeth once a day.
    I don’t think the immunotherapy hurts them long term, unfortunately it doesn’t help every dog either. But I think it is better than giving them medications all the time.

  • L

    Just wanted to add, with the cold weather I have not been bathing my dog as much, and sure enough she broke out in a rash. I am back to bathing her about twice a week with Malaseb ($) good stuff. Sometimes I alternate it with Sulfadene or a gentle Oatmeal shampoo.
    I see a difference already. I think frequent bathing helps big time for dust mite allergies. A cotton tank top to reduce exposure helps too.

  • Judy Guldenstern

    My daughter’s 3 year old pit bull just started with allergy shots which they are administering. He is showing all the allergy symptoms from the injections that he experiences without. Red itchy eyes and nose and constant scratching. He just finished the lowest dose and will go on to a higher dose. Is this type of a reaction normal and can they expect it to subside as his body starts developing an immunity?

    He is allergic to molds, grass, etc.

    • Judy – they say it takes a while for a dog’s body to adjust to the shots. I agree with “L” below in that you’ll want to keep communicating with the vet.

  • L

    @JG I’m not sure, I thought I noticed a slight decrease in symptoms when my dog started the shots.
    But I would call the vet who is treating him and describe your dog’s symptoms, my vet said that sometimes they may have to adjust the dose a little, and to let him know immediately if her symptoms got worse or if she had a reaction within 24-48 hours of receiving the shot.

    So, I would check with the vet before giving the next shot just to be on the safe side.

    It’s been about 8 months now, and my dog only scratches a little in the morning…so it is working. I hope the treatment helps your dog.

  • Gail and Tara

    Hi there, after going through skin scrapes and tapes, and blood testing twice, every thing as showed up to be negative, my German Shepherd Tara, started with itching and biting her legs in January 2014, to go onto developing hives all on her underbody,she as had shampoo’s and sprays which helped, also did the food test, and is now on apoquel anti itch tablets, her skin is loads better at moment. Tara is back on normal food now, as she had a break out on her skin during the food trial.
    I did notice a few days ago that when she was sniffing near and around our shed up the garden her nose began to run.
    Our shed is mega mouldy and over this Easter break we took it down, and it was even worse that we originally thought.
    We also took our ash tree down which was suffering with green mould issues all over the branches, and didn’t realise just how bad it was until it was down. both shed and tree have now gone to local skip.
    I also jet washed all how patio slabs over Easter and they where very bad with dried mould and algae.
    Today Tuesday Tara is very happy and calm in her self.
    Before Easter i contacted the vets to order the allergy testing kit, as i was at the end of my tether and thought it be the best option.
    As Tara is very calm in her self as reguards the odd nibble or bit at her self, i am wondering if i should still go ahead with the test when it arrives at the vets, i am hoping i have solved the issue my self, i know its early days yet but i am hopful that she will continue to improve.
    Then i also think i should go ahead with the test anyway, can you help.

    • Hi Gail. I hope the removal of the mold helped. Whether you proceed with the allergy tests is a personal decision. For our family, it gave us a better understanding of what was causing Elsie’s allergy problems. In addition to different types of mold, we were surprised to learn that she was allergic to several grasses, trees, feathers and even cotton.

      I wish both you and Tara all the best!

  • sara

    I have a 9 year old bulldog who has struggled with allergies much of his adult life. After trying every kind of food on the market and trying and changing all our household products, we had him tested. He came back with allergies to cats and people (the strongest) and then a few other indoor allergens. He has been receiving the shots for a year with no improvement. If anything, he is worse. He leaves a trail of skin everywhere he goes, scratches himself until he bleeds and has had no response to any over the counter medications, vitamins or shampoo. Where do we go from here? I hate to think he’s suffering and we’re at our limit with the skin flakes and having to vacuum 4 times a day.

    • Hi Sara – I’m sorry to hear that the shots aren’t working. Are they hypo sensitization allergy shots (they include small doses of the allergens your dog is having trouble with) or are they steroid shots? They say the allergy shots work for up to 85% of all dogs, but there is a percentage of dogs it does not work on. What does your vet recommend? Is it a veterinary dermatologist? I found that our veterinary dermatologist really helped us find the right solution for our dog. I hope things improve – I know how frustrating this can be. Please keep in touch.

  • L

    @sara, considering everything you have tried so far has not been effective, if it was my dog I would consult a homeopathic vet, Dr Will Falconer does telephone consults, answers e-mails and responds to comments posted in his blogs.
    http://vitalanimal.com/ If you go to “recommended resources” it will take you to a list of homeopathic veterinarians in your area.
    Latest blog: http://vitalanimal.com/natural-heartworm-prevention/

  • Sandee Kolker

    Hi, I have a ShiTsu named Callee a rescue, she was terribly treated in her first home, I am thankful that I got her. She has a terrible skin rash sincee I got her (4 yrs ago) it comes and goes ,she also has protinuria, coughing etc, my vet suggested going to a Dermi for allergy testing. I live in Deray Beach Fl Do you have any Dermatologists to suggest? I really would appreciate it. Sandee Thank you By the way she was o Atopica and it did nothing for her

    fl do you hay

  • I HAVE A 5 YEAR OLD YELLOW LAB THAT ALLERGIES TO DEMS LIKE EVERYTHING. SHE HAS BEEN ON PREDNISONE FOR 5 YEARS AND OF COURSE HER WEIGT IS SUFFERNG FOR I. WE JUST MOVED TO UNICORPORTED ARAPAOE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW OLD SCHOOL VET. THIS BIG ITEM FOR US IS GETTING THE ALLERGIES TO A MINIMU. My husband would prefer to get off of prednisone and go to some type of shot. Over the past 2 weeks she has been having a problem with white gunk coming out of her right and she h
    HAS NEVER HAD THIS ISSUE BEFORE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD BE WILING TO HELP OUR DOG AND MAKE HER MORE COMFORTABLE. plus, WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A GREAT VET THAT WE TRUST TO TAKE HER TO ON A 4-8 WEEK VISIT.

    SINCERELY,

    Paul and Ruthann Bonino
    3035377155 home
    3-36691200 cell

    Thank you so much in advance for your quick response

    • Hi Ruthann. I’d suggest seeing if there are any veterinary dermatologists close to where you live. Visit https://www.acvd.org/tools/locator/locator.asp?id=16. We actually only visited our vet dermatologist’s office twice in 5+ years. They mail all of our allergy shots to us now. Good luck!

    • Brian C

      Ruthann,

      As you probably know, the steroids can have a huge impact on the dogs internal organs. Our dog has the same problem as all of the owners on here as well. We’ve tried to limit the steroids unless it’s absolutely needed, and even then the vet will give us small doses just to help her control the itch. Lately, we’ve just told the vet we don’t want the steroid. We give her Benadryl and also she is on the allergy shots for the past five months, but she’s still chewing her paws. Another effect to look out for, as has been the case with our dog, is consistent infections requiring antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics causes the bacteria to adjust. Then MRSA starts to come into the equation and you will require stronger and stronger antibiotics until there are no options left.

      Overall, from all the research I’ve done on the internet and discussions with my vet, I feel like pet medicine is no where near what human medicine is and there just isn’t much to go by. The word allergy is thrown around very often but I never recall hearing about all this growing up with my other dogs (perhaps the medicine has improved a bunch since I was younger or perhaps there are other reasons). There seems to be no true cure for this and even my pet derm has told me they don’t know why the shots work, but they do in many dogs.

      Wish you and your dog nothing but the best – be careful with those steroids :)

      Thanks,

      Brian

  • Brian

    I have a Yorkie Lucy is here name and I think she has allergy s. her eyes are red on the outside and she is always itchy. Her skin is red and she had small red spots. she will not take any meds really hard to give them to her….HELP

  • L

    Hi, Brian
    Please read through the multitude of posts that describe similar scenarios.

    If it was my dog, I would make an appointment with a dog dermatologist asap

    Also, listen to what the homeopathic vets have to say.

    http://www.vitalanimal.com

  • Kim

    I wanted to share my story of my shepherd mix dog who had terrible allergies. He had gone 4 miserable years with terrible allergies that got worse every year. We were constantly trying new medicine and he was on an antihistamine year round with steroids added seasonally and was still miserable. We finally decided to try allergy testing and found he is allergic to most trees, grass, etc. our vet offered allergy drops as opposed to shots. He takes two drops in his mouth twice a day. He has been on them for about 4 months now and allergies are gone! Definitely worth the expense and definitely try the drops in lieu of shots. We paid about $500 for the testing and $200 for two bottles of drops. We are just now using up the first bottle so I expect our yearly ongoing expenses to be $600 or less. I am sure we were spending close to that with medicine and vet visits. Plus our little guy is so much happier.

    • Kim – that’s great news! I imagine the allergy drops are similar to the allergy shots we give our dog. It was really a game changer for us. So wonderful to hear a success story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kai

    So happy to read this.
    I had my gorgeous champagne pit tested for food allergies a couple years ago. They did the saliva test. It came back that she is allergic to so many things so the only food she can have is either raw diet ( so expensive ) or the canidae bison. There is always something in the other foods that she is supposedly allergic to. However, her allergies are still terrible. I know she has environmental allergies but the vet wanted $1000 for shots. I went to earthclinic.com and have been using the natural remedies they list there. Apple cider vinegar for her skin and also coconut oil and in her food. Evening primrose oil in pills and asydophilus. It says it will take up to 30 days for your pets skin to change if at all. If this doesn’t work I will have to spend for the ahots. Thanks for this blog

  • L

    Most of us have tried all the natural stuff, it doesn’t seem to work if the allergies are severe and have been going on for 4 seasons or longer without any significant relief.

    The initial testing by a dermatologist is expensive $1000 (ballpark figure), the treatment for my dog is about $30 a month. We see the dermatologist once a year and haven’t needed to see the regular vet again, in over 2 years now.

    I lean toward a homeopathic approach for pet care as much as I can….but it doesn’t always work for everything.

  • Billie Jo

    Homemade remedies do not work . My Jack Russell who is now 8yrs old has had allergies since birth.He gets a allergy shot once a month thru the months of May -October or until snow hits.I had to pay an initial vet visit at first.Now i just take him in they have the shot ready.They inject him..I pay 12.00 and leave.I have a happy allergy free doggie !!!!! I tried all the homemade stuff at first even benadryl as the vet suggested ..To make your dog not miserable take him to the vet get the allergy shot and let your dog be happy ! Or try the Benadryl ! I just found the shot once a month was a lot more cheaper ..

  • L

    I assume you had the skin testing and blood work done to identify specific allergies. If not, your dog may be receiving prednisone/cyclosporine medications. Miracle drugs at first, but, be aware of potential side effects down the road.

  • Eileen

    My dog developed bumps all over her skin at 2 years old. We have been back and forth to the vet because these bumps opened and she scratched them to the point where they bled and got infected. The Vet advised us to see a Dermatology Vet and we did. My dog was tested and found to have many allergies to indoor and outdoor allergens. We were instructed to give her the shots that you all talk about. These shots made her so sick we had to rush her to the Vet. The first vial of shots went pretty smoothly. Then the second vial (darker in color) did horrible things to my poor baby. The bumps were EVERYWHERE on her body. She couldn’t even open her eyes since they too were covered in bumps. We immediately gave her Benadryl and waited. About 40% of the bumps went down, but what remain were awful, itchy and became oozing pustules of bacteria. She is on antibiotics now and continues that regimen until she clears up. It has been over 3 weeks and she is still suffering and bleeding. Her paws are so bad that she can hardly walk. She looks stoned all the time because of all the meds to help with the staph infection, which developed. We are insanely upset and are seeking another specialist. We are watching our dog slowly deteriorate because of these awful allergy shots! No more! They are not worth it – not worth my dog’s life.

  • Christine watt

    my cocker spaniel has allergies to moulds and dust and she is undergoing treatment with allergy vaccine at the minute. She has been getting the vaccine for around 3 months and is still not up to full dose yet but she is a lot worse now than she ever was before we started this. I feel for the poor wee thing and don’t know whether to continue giving her the vaccine and hope that eventually when it’s up to full dose that she will actually get some relief from it. Anyone else had the same problem?

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