Intradermal Allergy Test: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What medications should we avoid before the intradermal allergy test and for how long?
A: Antihistamines and steroids should be avoided; this includes oral and topical therapy. You should discuss appropriate withdrawal of medications with our office staff. If your pet is simply too itchy to withdraw these medications prior to the first exam, an initial evaluation will allow the dermatologist to formulate a withdrawal and intermediate treatment plan in preparation for intradermal allergy testing.
- topical medications (such as antihistamines and steroid containing shampoos and sprays) should be avoided for at least 2 weeks;
- oral antihistamine, steroids and tranquilizers should be avoided for a minimum of 3 weeks; and
- injectable steroids should be avoided for a minimum of 6 weeks.
Q: What does the intradermal allergy test entail?
A: Dogs need to be sedated for the test, cats undergo general anesthesia. A small patch of hair is shaved on the chest behind the elbow and very tiny amounts of 36 different allergens are injected into the skin. A specific amount of time is allowed to elapse (8-15 minutes) and then the test site is evaluated. At that point the offending allergens are known.
Q: When is the intradermal allergy test performed?
A: The intradermal allergy test is an outpatient procedure which is typically performed during the first visit if the pet meets required withdrawal times and secondary infection is adequately controlled.
Q: Will my pet be sleepy after sedation/anesthesia?
A: The sedation and anesthesia are very short acting and your pet will be awake and ready to go shortly after finishing the test.
Q: Is the intradermal allergy test uncomfortable?
A: No more uncomfortable than allergy testing performed on humans. Humans describe a mildly irritating sensation through which they are instructed to sit still. Since your pet can’t be instructed to sit still, sedation helps the veterinary dermatologist finish the test in a timely manner and helps reduce any potential unease for your pet.