Specific Immunotherapy (Hyposensitization)
|For which diseases is the specific immunotherapy the most applicable therapy?|
|For atopic dermatitis. This is an allergic reaction to pollens of grasses and trees, and to house dust mites, storage mites, moulds, insects or animal dandruff or epithelia. |
Animals with a genetic predisposition to this disease produce - upon contact with the causing substances (allergens) so called antibodies named IgE.
|Pets suffering from atopy react with itchiness, with or without a rash or with asthma. Your Vet has diagnosed this allergy either via a skin test or a blood test. You know now to what your animal is allergic to. |
Thus you should decide to choose an allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) for your animal.
| What is a specific immunotherapy?|
|“SIT is a stepwise reduction of an allergen-specific, IgE-mediated reaction of the body through regularly subcutaneous injections of the causing allergens with slowly increasing concentrations“. |
What does that mean? From the allergens, to which the animal reacted positively in the allergy
| ||test, a specially produced therapy for your animal will be started (that is the reason why it takes 3-4 weeks). |
These allergens will be injected subcutaneously in increasing concentrations, which will induce a tolerance of your animal's body towards these allergens. The therapy is successful in 70- 80% of the cases.
In general a SIT is recommended if the symptoms of your animal last longer than 4 months per year. At the beginning of the therapy you need 2 vials of different concentrations. You need to consider the following:
|- ||At the beginning the subcutaneous injections will be injected once a week. Later the interval can be increased to 2-4 weeks.|
|-||You should adhere to these intervals. If you forgot one injection for no longer than an extra week, you might be able to carry on.|
|-||During the first injection of each vial the animal should be observed for 30-60 minutes concerning adverse reactions (very rare).|
|-||Within one hour before and after the injection the animal should not eat.|
|-||Excessive effort (long walks, playing) should not take place during the first hours after injection.|
|-||Routine vaccinations should not take place at the same day as the SIT injections.|
|-||The vials need to be refrigerated.|
|-|| ||The refill for the therapy needs to be ordered early enough to prevent relapses.|
|Course of the therapy|
At the beginning of therapy sometimes an additional treatment with other drugs is necessary, e.g. in order that the itchiness of your animal is acceptable . Nevertheless you should try to use other drugs as less as possible, because the symptoms of your animal are used to control the success of the SIT.
|The injections should be given in regular intervals in increasing dosage. In 70-80% of cases the SIT shows good results, at the beginning however it is not judge able if your animal belongs to the bigger group of good success or if your animal unfortunately belongs to the smaller group which is not successful. |
But you should have patience: some animals show an improvement after some weeks, but the final assessment of therapy can be done only after many months (actually one year).
|What to do, if . . .|
...your animal does not respond to the SIT or the symptoms get worse after initial success?
|Consult your Vet it could be an additional disease. That can be as simple as fleas, secondary bacterial infection, but also a very different new disease. But it could also be necessary to adapt the interval, concentration or sometimes even the content of the SIT.|
...with increasing dose directly after or the day after the injection the symptoms get worse?Talk to your Vet. Sometimes the next injection needs to be reduced by two steps. Afterwards the increase may be tried again. If it happens again the injection dose will again be decreased. This dose can be considered as maintenance dose.
...the itchiness starts again directly before the next injection?
Ask your Vet. Sometimes just the interval needs to be shortened.
...your animal shows a good success to SIT?
|You should not stop the therapy, but continue over years, best lifelong. |
You can try to increase the interval of injections and if necessary shorten again. If you stop therapy because you have an excellent success to SIT the symptoms will come back, because an allergy is not curable.
In those cases you have to start from the beginning, also the allergy test needs to be redone.
The injection plan is a guideline each animal reacts individually, thus adjustments for each patient may be necessary. Observe your animal properly, this helps your Vet to adjust the therapy plan for your animal.
An allergy is not curable, although the majority can be controlled properly with SIT!
Even if your animal has a very good response to therapy there can be phases where additional therapy is needed. But with the help of SIT these phases may be shorter and less frequent.