VARL Allergy Testing - Anyone done it?
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Thread: VARL Allergy Testing - Anyone done it?

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    justine's Avatar
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    Default VARL Allergy Testing - Anyone done it?

    Kolby has been progressively itching more and more since I got him in December. I chalked it up to a possible food allergy, switching him to grain-free, then to a limited-ingredient diet and saw no improvement, quite the opposite. In the past couple of weeks he's been scratching so hard that his chest is almost bald.. he's losing more hair than when he did when he was blowing his coat!

    I've had him on a few different antihistamines in different combinations per my previous vet but the itching kept getting worse, regardless of whether or not he was on meds. I took him to a new vet and he suspected he might have a thyroid issue. Results came back normal. We drew blood on Friday to make sure that his liver was okay and also to send for the VARL allergy testing.

    Luckily his liver was okay so we have him on a course of Pred to give him some relief.. He has almost stopped itching completely, but the increased drinking and urination is kind of ridiculous, considering how much water he already drinks. At some point during the day he released his entire bladder all over the inside and outside of his crate! Poor guy..

    But back to the topic.. we are waiting 2-3 weeks for the results of the blood tests, which should tell us which of the Great Lakes region allergies he is reacting to, and based on that, he will have some sort of serum prescribed and will get injections of the things he's allergic to to try to help him overcome them. It's complicated, but I've heard good things about it. I did not spend the extra money to have them test for food allergies, as I've heard that it is not reliable at all.

    Have any of you done this test with your dogs? Just curious.

    Thanks

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    I haven't even heard of this, but just wanted to say poor Kolby! Sounds like he has had a rough time of it. Simon has allergies to...something. Environmental. Luckily, keeping him on Benadryl seems to help a lot. But I can relate to the itching and scratching until they're hairless. Simon ended up with a bacterial infection from scratching so much one year.

    I agree with not spending the $$ for food testing...from what I've gathered from reading, food allergies are a lot less common than environmental. In people too, I think.

    Hope the shots will bring him some relief! Hugs from me!

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    justine's Avatar
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    Yeah, Connie.. my poor chocolate boy. I just hope we can figure something out - it's kind of ridiculous how long this process is! Kolby didn't respond at all to the Benadryl or the slew of other meds, except for the Pred he's on now.

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    Labmom2Sun is offline Senior Member
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    This sounds like the testing we had done on Sundance soon after adopting him. SO GLAD we did it. He had horrible itchies on his paws, and had licked and bitten them until they were raw. The testing showed he's allergic to dust mites, which I'm told is the most common allergy in dogs. We bypassed the food allergy testing, too. He now gets a shot every two weeks and rarely has a flare up. When he was a pup, his paws had looked like they were stained with iodine, but now you can't tell there was anything wrong.

    I hope you can get Kolby diagnosed and on treatment so he gets some relief. I know how distressing it is to see your dog so uncomfortable. Let us know how it goes.

    Laura, mom of Sundance, CGC
    born 1/16/06

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    Brooklyn has horrible allergies and they are environmental. We took her to an animal allergist and did the whole food elimination thing.No change. Instead of testing to see what she was allergic too, which is numerous environmental things, we just focused on finding something that helps alleviate her symptoms. We have her on hydroxizine 3 x a day. But in May and just now again in June, we've had outbreaks of rashes or infections on her belly that have her on short term steroids and antibiotics. Ah, the joys of spring. Its so hard choosing between her comfort and steroids. Steroids scare me so. So we try to keep her off them as much as we can.

    There was a new drug that the animal allergist was trying out last year that we didn't get called Atopica? Here's there site:

    Atopica

    As far as allergy shots are concerned...we decided against that route. BUT...as a human who has been through allergy shots...I can tell you it works great for some things (my spring allergies are so much more manageable) and not so great for others (mold or cats will still put me in the hospital with an asthma attack).

    Good luck and keep us posted. I'm curious to know what the test results were.
    Melissa, Remy & Brooklyn

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    justine's Avatar
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    Melissa - Kolby was on hydroxyzine 75mg three times a day as well as Claritin twice a day and he stopped responding to it completely. The pred scares the crap out of me, but it's a low dose and its just for a couple of weeks, and I tested his liver beforehand just to make sure he'd be okay with it. It's helped him out a lot, but I don't want to keep him on them if I don't have to.

    I am familiar with Atopica but it's basically an immune suppressant and I don't feel comfortable with those.

    So pretty much my only option is the allergy testing.. I hope it works! If not, I'm looking into some acupuncture and herbal remedies.

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    I hope the allergy testing works. I bet it will help! He's lucky to have someone who will try so hard to find the thing that will help. Allergies can be so frustrating to deal with.

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    Yes ! I had it done for my Beary girl, I wish I could find the pic of her at her worst.
    She had hardly any hair left on her face, and it was all red and inflammed.
    Anyway, it was expensive, but the testing and shots were SOOOOO Worth every
    single penny for her ! I takes a while, but she got so much better with the shots.
    We actually had a free trial of Atopica and it did nothing ! At one point we even
    combined benadryl and chlorpheniramine. Hope this helps and you both get relief
    and answers. P.S. Bear was allergic to TONS of stuff ! we also didnt test for food
    allergies ...
    Buddy 11


    bella 5


    Bruno 3

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    justine's Avatar
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    Glad to hear that it worked for your girl.. gives me some hope!

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