Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is a relatively safe long-term treatment for environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis) that gradually builds your pet’s immunity to specific allergens. Unlike drug therapy, allergy vaccine injections contain the things to which your pet are allergic (allergens). Just as in humans, the ingredients used for a pet’s allergy vaccine are carefully chosen from the results of the individual’s allergy tests. The doctor formulating the vaccine for the pet must understand the importance of allergen cross-reactivity and the importance of allergen dose. Dr. Byrne has studied allergenic pollens, molds, dust mites and other allergens intensively and knows which allergens are likely to be of importance for your pet based on your pet’s history, examination findings and also knows what amounts of specific allergens are likely to be helpful.
Injections of the allergen are given to your pet, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing until the highest tolerable concentration is reached. Every animal responds differently to this form of therapy. Some animals show immediate improvement within the first few months; while others may take 6-8 months before seeing any significant improvement. Immunotherapy is a highly recommended treatment and although it may be needed long-term, the results are very effective and may help eliminate the need for steroids.