Looks like Rex is back on the schedule again—he’s a frequent flyer known for his angry, itchy skin. You feel like you’ve been trying it all, and his family is feeling frustrated. A more targeted allergy treatment could help provide Rex with the relief he so desperately needs. Allergen-specific immunotherapy can help better address your patients’ allergies by providing them with individualized, long-lasting treatment that works at the source of allergic disease.
What is allergen-specific immunotherapy and how is it different from traditional allergy treatment?
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT) involves administering small, gradually increasing quantities of an allergen, or various allergens, to an allergic patient to stimulate an immune response. Traditional allergy treatments aim to alleviate symptoms associated with the allergy. Instead, ASIT aims to alter or reverse immune response. This methodology can reduce or even eliminate symptoms entirely.
Studies have shown that ASIT generally has less side effects and is longer lasting than traditional allergy treatments such as corticosteroids. Allergen-specific immunotherapy also provides significant quality of life improvements for both patient and owner and can reduce the need for other medications by 87%.
Where do I start and what does treatment look like?
The path to allergen-specific immunotherapy starts with an allergy test. Exact allergens need to be identified to create a patient’s unique treatment; this is typically done via blood testing focused on IgE antibodies. Once the allergens are identified, a unique formula can be created to target the patient’s needs.
Although treatment is commonly administered via subcutaneous injection, sublingual drops are another available methodology for patients who have not responded well to injections or are at higher risk for severe allergic reactions. For some owners, the sublingual option may be more appealing than administering injections at home. Subcutaneous injections are typically performed multiple times a week, eventually decreasing in frequency to once every few weeks, while sublingual drops are typically administered twice daily.
It is important that clients understand that ASIT is not an immediate fix, but a long-term solution. At times, it may be necessary to couple ASIT with more traditional symptom relief to ensure patient comfort. It is additionally important that clients understand that although treating allergies via ASIT is a long-term commitment, ASIT could potentially resolve the allergy entirely—a significant benefit and a huge improvement to their pet’s quality of life.
What is ALLERCEPT?
ALLERCEPT could be your clinic’s next step for allergy testing and treatment. The ALLERCEPT allergy test provides the highest sensitivity available and includes highly specific testing for over 80 allergens. The allergy testing kit includes everything you need to send serum to the laboratory for testing.
ALLERCEPT’s immunotherapy treatments—available subcutaneous or sublingual—are based on a combination of the test results, clinical history, and geographic location of the patient. Heska has a highly qualified Medical and Technical Consulting team that reviews every allergy test result, confirms immunotherapy formulations, and supports customers throughout the process. Most animals respond positively to ALLERCEPT immunotherapy within 3 to 6 months.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy is a long-term solution that can provide your allergic patients and their families with some much-needed relief. If you’re ready to take the next step towards attacking allergies at the source, fill out the interest form to get started today.
Brooks, W. (2006, November 20). Immunotherapy for allergies in dogs and cats. VIN. https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/ default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952556
Kotnik T. (2023). Quality of Life of Allergic Dogs Treated with Allergen- Specific Immunotherapy-A Retrospective Study. Veterinary sciences, 10(2), 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci10020072
Ramió-Lluch, L., Brazís, P., Ferrer, L., & Puigdemont, A. (2020). Allergen- specific immunotherapy in dogs with atopic dermatitis: is owner compliance the main success-limiting factor?. The Veterinary record, 187(12), 493. https://doi.org/10.1136/ vr.106024