1.5 min read
This is 2-year-old Ruthie at her Intradermal Allergy Testing (IDAT) appointment. Dogs will typically start showing signs of environmental allergies between the ages of 1-5. Cats can develop signs of environmental allergies at any time.

Ruthie is a two-year-old chihuahua mix. Her mom, Mountain Star Client Service Coordinator, Jane Cady, describes her pre-IDAT conditions as “constant nibbling on her feet and belly, scratching her neck, and sleeplessness for a few weeks.” Ruthie was miserable.

Jane and Ruthie’s story can be helpful when referring clients and patients, who don’t always know what an IDAT appointment includes at a specialty dermatology hospital.

We’ll show our methods and next steps as a guideline for you (our referring veterinarians) and potential clients.

A 1-hour IDAT appointment consists of the following steps:

-Our first step is to welcome the client and patient. We are firm believers in Fear Free methods; thus, creating a calm and low stress/stress free environment is our first step.

-The pet is given a light sedative prior to starting the skin testing procedure. This helps the pet feel calm during the testing process. The pet is awake the whole time and we cradle them for added security. 

-Our vet tech will then shave the pet’s chest to prep for the testing. This doesn’t hurt the pet. 

-A series of dots are made on the skin with a Sharpie marker. These dots mark the site of the allergen injections. A tiny bit of allergen is injected into the skin above and below the dots. The first injection is pure histamine. This serves as our positive control. Saline is the second injection and serves as the negative control. All allergen responses are then compared to these first two injections. The maximum reaction is seen by 15 minutes after injection. 

-Once the test is completed, and the doctor has graded each reaction, the skin test site is cleaned with a medicated wipe to remove the marker spots. Plus, a steroid cream is applied to the testing area to reduce itch post-testing. 

-The sedation used is reversible. So once the test is completed, the reversal medication is given, and the pet is up and walking around within a few minutes. Jane reports that as the sedation wore off, Ruthie felt calm and happy. She wasn’t groggy like post-surgical pets act. 

Outcome: Jane learned that Ruthie is allergic to almost everything: grasses, trees, humans including Jane, and the cat she shares her pillow with.

Allergy testing is location specific: 

-The results for Ruthie are for allergens in the Front Range area. 

-We won’t waste your client’s time by testing Front Range allergens if they plan on moving to another part of the country soon.

To-dos at home:

Each pet’s post-IDAT appointment regimen varies. Here’s an idea of Jane’s new routine for Ruthie:

-Jane gave Ruthie “hyposensitization shots” (an organic mixture made up of plant and insect proteins that were selected specifically for Ruthie’s reactions) each day for 10 days after the appointment. After that, the shots became weekly. This helps Ruthie’s body become used to normal things in her environment that her immune system was over-reacting to resulting in her discomfort. 

-Jane also bathes Ruthie each week to help repair her broken down skin barrier, reduce yeast and bacteria on the skin, and remove allergens from the haircoat. This all helps reduce Ruthie’s allergen exposure, secondary infection, and discomfort. 

-After each bath, Jane applies product to Ruthie’s skin to keep it from flaring up.

-Jane gives Ruthie oral fish oil to improve her broken down skin barrier to reduce absorption of allergens, and reduce skin inflammation.

-Finally, Jane brings Ruthie to Mountain Star for anti-itch injections every few months, as the seasons shift.


Allergy treatment is a financial and time commitment. There is no magic pill. 

Allergy vaccine/immunotherapy is the only TRUE treatment for allergies. It is also the safest long-term treatment and the only treatment that has been shown to prevent the progression of allergies. 

It’s even more worthwhile once your pet’s health improves and they gain their life back.

At Mountain Star, that’s our goal: to heal pets’ skin and eye conditions so clients can enjoy their pets as companions. 

We truly appreciate your referrals. We’re here to support you, your clients, and your patients. 

For more information, please call or email us today.