"Atopic dermatitis" (environmental allergy) is one of the most common skin conditions in dogs and cats and in many cases, symptomatic treatment can be challenging, frustrating and limited outcome or diverse adverse reactions might be observed. In addition to a symptomatic medical treatment, there is a possibility of allergen specific immunotherapy (also called hypesensitization) as the only etiological therapeutic intervention. Although this treatment has to be continued for at least twelve months until there can be a final evaluation of the individual beneficial effects, a clinical improvement can often be observed within several months, very rarely maybe even within weeks. A shorter treatment duration might lead to false negative or positive results and thus, is not recommended. About 25% of dogs do show such a good response that besides of immunotherapy no additional treatment is needed. Another 50% do need soft symptomatic therapy in addition to immunotherapy, though in a majorly decreased dosage than without immunotherapy. There is a 75% chance that Prednisolon (steroid) does not have to be given in long-term therapy.
If an atopic dermatitis / environmental allergy has been confirmed (via exclusion of an insect or food allergy), based on the results of a prior allergy testing (intradermal allergy test or serum allergy test) a hyposensitization solution can be ordered which is afterwards injected in special time intervals, adapted to the individual patient. If not otherwise desired, we will make the decision on the required allergens, order the solution and perform the first (updosing) injections in form of a rushimmunotherapy, so the further treatment can easily be conducted by your private veterinarian.
There is a differentiation between various intervention types in regards of hyposensitization or allergen immunotherapy. In many cases a conventional therapeutic dosing scheme is used, where the immunotherapy dosage is slowly increased over several months. In accordance with contemporary study results in human and veterinary medicine, there is a viable alternative to conduct this "updosing" within one single day (under good clinical care of an expert and due to a strict and specific dosing regime in the veterinary hospital) instead of months without the disadvantages of a higher risk of allergic reactions. This way, a faster response to the immunotherapy is expected, compared to the conventional therapeutic protocol.
Besides of the conventional subcutaneous route of application (injection under the skin), there is an option to inject the immunotherapy solution directly into the lymphonode. As some patients have a smaller number of dendritic cells (or cells with a reduced activitity) in and under the skin compared to others, this form of hyposensitization may work better in those patients than the subcutaneous variant. Our experts on dermatology and allergology have long-year experience in immunotherapy and are trained to conduct this application route and can discuss and choose the optimal therapeutic option for you and your pet.