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Allergy testing

(18 Posts)
User467 Wed 11-Jul-18 17:38:56

We have a lovely almost two year old border terrier. I've posted a couple of time about his sensitive tunmy and problems we've had with periods of him being pretty unwell with it.

Day to day he is generally a bit more subdued than our other BT and can look a bit sore, lots of front down stretching and generally just looking like he's holding himself like he's uncomfortable. Not all the time, just very so often. When he has a proper flare he gets pretty miserable, reluctant to get out of bed, awful mucousy poo, trembly, sore, lip smacking and occasionally sick (although vomitting isn't the overriding symptom). During these times he also gets sores round his mouth and irritated paws. He's been fairly extensively investigated. His liver enzymes are raised although he has been cleared for any underlying liver issue, not addisons and the vet doubts pancreatitis. He is currently on a trial dose of steroids as we are wondering if its inflammatory bowel but I can't say I've noticed a huge difference in him so I'm now not as convinced.

Since he was a pup it was clear he had a sensitive tummy and couldn't tolerate a range of foods. He used to get very bad wind, diarrhoea and gurgly tummy so over the time we have tried various different foods to try and find one that suits him. He is currently on a prescription hypoallergenic food but it's fair to say he doesn't love it and he has had a flare during the time he's been on it.

So, after that long post......I'm back to wondering if this is potentially all down to allergies. Could allergies explain all the symptoms he's having? We're due back at the vets this week to decide our next step and I'm wondering about requesting allergy testing. I'm a bit sceptical as think the results can be a bit inaccurate, likely to be false positives, but was wondering if anyone has done this successfully? My plan would be, once we knew his allergens, to cook his food myself. Or has anyone experienced anything similar that they've managed to diagnose? I just want to make him better.

Honeyroar Wed 11-Jul-18 21:33:11

Hi, have you ever tried eliminating certain foods for a while and seeing how he goes? My little dog is allergic to a few things, especially grass. Our vet is very much a "don't waste your money" type (seems v rare nowadays). He said tests would show up alsorts of allergies, a lot of which may not be the issue, and suggested we tried avoiding certain things. We kept her off grass as much as possible, but one of the other things he suggested was feed. He said avoid all grains and even rice, just feed meat and veg based. He said a lot of dogs show allergies to chicken and red meat, so to feed fish or turkey flavours only. It's worked massively with her. We find avoiding things works and we then don't have to overly medicate. Prevention is better than cure, so to speak.

User467 Wed 11-Jul-18 21:57:42

Thanks honey. I have managed to do that to a certain extent. Some foods give a definite, quite quick reaction and we have eliminated them. But it has been difficult to pin point what is causing the more severe flare ups he gets. There doesn't seem to be a clear link. When he is particularly unwell he seems to do well on boiled rice and chicken but I am aware that both of these are quite well known to not be well tolerated. The vet said that some intolerances can take a few weeks to show so it makes it difficult to know if he truly is tolerating what he's eating if that makes sense. I've tried altering his food and have tried a few of the higher quality grain free and fish based foods but he wasn't any better on them and some he was actually worse on. Higher protein contents seem to go against him as well. He doesn't get any commercial treats at all and isn't allowed any toys that he can chew and swallow bits of becasue that seems to also trigger a flare up. Poor fella is limited to just his hypoallergenic prescription food with absolutely nothing else which is pretty dull for him.

I've put off the allergy testing so far because I agree that it is likely to be of questionable accuracy but I'm just a bit stumped where to go next. I'm still not entirely convinced that there's not something else underlying it all. Just wish we could figure out what is going on with him 😕

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jul-18 22:03:46

The most reliable thing to do is an elimination diet. My dog is on raw. So that would mean switching her to a new protein. One she hadn't had before. Like rabbit. And nothing but that for a number of weeks. Then adding in one more protein at a time and watching for reactions.
Of course that only works with dietary issues.
Environmental? Consider what you wash bedding in and rinse off after walks?
We have tried Allergon from fenland forager and yumove itchy dog.
Yeast is our issue. Chicken and grain seems to aggravate her.

tabulahrasa Wed 11-Jul-18 22:33:55

My dog has had allergy testing... not for food though, for skin issues

He allergic to dust mites, he did also get a false positive for lime trees, but with no related allergens showing up they just ruled it out.

It’s not a hugely invasive test, sedation, shave and a few itchy bits smile

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jul-18 22:34:56

Tabula was that patch testing or blood and fur samples taken? Still not entirely sure what sets my girl off.

tabulahrasa Wed 11-Jul-18 22:48:12

Skin pricks so patch testing?... lol

He’s a big dog, not as big as yours to be fair, so they just shaved off a big patch and tested all the most common ones.

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jul-18 22:50:56

I had no idea they could. And I've been patch tested myself! Though in fairness it hasn't cured my issue.
Madam goes through mucky ears and itchy foot cycles. Maybe to do with her hormones. Neurotic! And the dog! grin

tabulahrasa Wed 11-Jul-18 23:00:25

Yeah he saw a dermatologist... one of his many specialists hmm

Food would have been more straightforward because you can cut that out... but he was given apoquel, it works well enough that we’ve not tried immunotherapy.

If it’s ears and paws and you know grains are an issue it could be grass, is it hayfevery time of year she’s worse?

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jul-18 23:02:13

She seems to be bad after every season. Chewing a foot. Just one. hmm
Apoquel isn't great for wolfhounds. And it did very little.
At the moment diet and acv and yumove itchy all seem to help.

Honeyroar Wed 11-Jul-18 23:08:21

Yes my vet said to give a new diet a good month to see how it affects them. He is very against appoquel for small dogs.

tabulahrasa Wed 11-Jul-18 23:12:32

It’s not a great drug really, but he’s got that much wrong with him that I couldn’t see the point in avoiding it... and he was gettting constant hot spots, it’s the only thing out of all his medical issues that he’s ever miserable with, so worth trying to get rid of smile

I mean he was pretty much hours from death once and that took 3 days of vets (not even the same vets, his, emergency and a specialist) visits before they decided it needed proper investigation because he just didn’t seem ill enough...

Half inch hot spot though, and he wanders round crying and shaking hmm rofl.

But yeah, the allergy testing was dead straightforward and only took like an hour? Maybe 2 all in.

Fairtatas Wed 11-Jul-18 23:17:13

Allergy testing for food stuff is not at all accurate- a prescription hydrolysed diet would be the best bet like hills z/d

Wolfiefan Wed 11-Jul-18 23:19:15

Oh bless him. Apoquel is interesting but not an answer for big girl. Could I PM you tomorrow Tabula?

tabulahrasa Wed 11-Jul-18 23:20:52


comfortmewithapples Wed 11-Jul-18 23:28:29

Our BT has allergies. For the moment, he is OK on Piriton three times a day. I'm not sure whether special food helps or not in his case.

Honeyroar Wed 11-Jul-18 23:46:31

Tabula, oh heck, our most recent dog had his first hot spot last week. He's just had a course of steroids and antibiotics. Do they come back often? I've got to research them yet. Not fair! We've already got one duff allergic dog.

tabulahrasa Thu 12-Jul-18 00:39:12

Oh they’re not always because of allergies - they can just get one, my last dog got them very occasionally if he got a scratch or anything and he could lick where it was... so maybe 4? In like 12 years.

This dog it was every few weeks - so after a while it seemed like a good idea to get them looked into.

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