Veterinarians are confronted with allergies of dogs more often nowadays. The specific immunotherapy (SIT) represents a specific therapy for the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis. It combines the advantage of almost no adverse effects with a rather high percentage of success.
- Duration and development of therapy
Key for success is the correct selection of clinical relevant allergens.
Furthermore the success of the therapy is closely related to a good interaction between the veterianrian and the owner of the animal. Studies show: the closer the veterinarian can follow the success of the therapy as the treatment is given the more individual changes of the treatment regime can be carried out. This consequently results in a higher percentage of success.
Treatment should be carried out minimum 1 year. Most authors recommend continuous treatment for several years in order to provide a durable success.
- What about the age of the patient?
Own data show that best treatment results are seen in the group of 1 to 8 year olds (74%).
In dogs younger than the age of 1 year a treatment with SIT should not be recommended due to the reduced percentage of success (9%) and the large number of cases where worsening of clinical symptoms is seen (36%).
In the elderly patient (above 10 years) we still see a large portion of animals with treatment success (72%). However, chances of worsening of symptoms rise (21,4%).
- What kind of allergies can be treated best using SIT ?
Independent of the type of allergen (e.g. moulds, mites, pollens) the success rate is greater than 70%, if the number of allergens that cause the disease is limited.
The chances for success drop if the number of allergens rise, especially if there are allergic reactions to not related allergens (e.g. pollens, mites and moulds at the same time).
- What are limiting factors for the use of SIT?
The use of SIT is limited to type I allergies that go along with the production of specific IgE.
SIT can not be used in adverse reactions to food or in contact allergies.
The SIT is a most successful therapy :
in dogs 1 - 8 years of age
when not to many allergens cause the disease
the therapy is closely followed by the veterinarian for at least 1 year