What is immunotherapy?
How Is Immunotherapy Administered?
Immunotherapy comes in two forms – an oral form that is given by mouth and absorbs through the gums, or an injectable form that is delivered with injections just beneath the skin (subcutaneous injections). The oral form is given daily, while the injectable form starts off with as injections every 3 days, with the goal of lengthening the interval between injections to every 7 days. The oral-mucosal form is great for clients who are uncomfortable with giving injections, but the injectable form uses small volumes of allergen and a very tiny needle, and the majority of pets do not object to these injections. Ultimately, the form used, dose administered, and frequency of administration are tailored according to your pet’s response. For this reason, regular reevaluations or recheck appointments with one of our doctors (especially during the first year) are essential for achieving the best results.
Is Immunotherapy Safe?
As with any injectable medication, there is a possible chance of serious allergic reaction to the allergen serum. Such reactions are VERY rare, but to be safe we advise that you be with your pet for 30 minutes after administering immunotherapy. If you notice any unusual signs following an immunotherapy injection, such as weakness, labored or difficulty breathing, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea, or hives, IMMEDIATELY contact our hospital or your regular veterinarian. Your pet should always be observed for at least 30 minutes following an immunotherapy injection, in case of a reaction to the injection.
Are There Other Reactions to Watch Out for?
How Soon Can I Expect to See Some Improvement in My Pet?
Can My Pet Receive Other Medications While On Immunotherapy?
Regular skin and coat care, particularly bathing, is an important part of managing your pet’s allergies. Dr. Randall or Dr. Hasbach may also prescribe medications such as antihistamines, fatty acids, shampoos, rinses, or sprays to help keep your pet comfortable during the early stages of immunotherapy or during allergy season. These other medications and supplements work in conjunction with the immunotherapy your pet is on and are safe to use together.
How Long Will My Pet Have to Receive Immunotherapy?
If your pet is receiving oral immunotherapy, it is still unclear if discontinuing allergen serum is possible after there is control for several years. Until further research is conducted in this important area we maintain our current recommendation to continue use of oral immunotherapy.
What If My Pet Is Not Improving On Immunotherapy?
A Note from the Animal Allergy and Ear Clinic
Client Participation and Compliance
The key to success with immunotherapy lies in consistency. This form of treatment will not be successful without the full participation and cooperation of the owner or caretaker. Therefore, the decision to proceed with immunotherapy should be based on client preferences and their commitment to the treatment. At the Animal Allergy and Ear Clinic it is our goal to first educate you on all of your options and then work with your family to decide the best form of treatment. Clients who are well informed are more likely to adhere to the immunotherapy schedule, commit to their other concurrent therapies, and make the necessary modifications in the home environment per the prescribing veterinarian’s instructions. It is our mission to be as upfront in terms of program, schedule, cost, and needed compliance. For the treatment to be successful, we will provide constant guidance and encouragement.
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13025 SW Millikan Way Suite 100
Beaverton, OR 97005
M, Tu, Th, Fri: 8am - 6pm
Greensboro, NC 27410
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