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Discussion Starter #1
My border collie has had skin problems for the two years we have had him. We have tried different food, prednisone (3 times), allergy medicine, and Omega 3 pills. Nothing is working/helping. He gets red spots on him, he itches constantly, bites his legs and has very dry, flaky skin.
I want to have an allergy test done and the vet said, "We draw blood, but not every allergy will not show up. It's $200."
Is that a fair price? Is that how it's usually done? What allergies wouldn't show up?
I also asked about a skin scrape (as per advice I have seen on this board) and the vet replied to hubby that he is too old for those kind of problems?
Any guidance or sympathetic "I've been there before.." posts would be appreciated.
Without knowing what he's allergic to: do you think that feeding raw would help?
 

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My first suggestion, if you're willing, is to go raw. I can't speak from personal experience (yet - I'm starting tomorrow) but I've read a LOT about dogs' allergies completely going away when switched to raw.

Another suggestion I would make is to change to a food with a single protein that your dog hasn't had before. Like venison or duck. I don't know what kind of food you've tried, but if they all have chicken in them and he's allergic to chicken, then it wouldn't help.

I have read that the allergy tests are okay, but not thorough and I'm not willing to spend the money for a half-way result. And I'm certainly not going to put my dog on Hill's Rx food.

If you don't want to make the switch to raw, try a Limited Ingredient diet. Natural Balance makes some and I know there are others but I don't remember the brand.
 

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First off, the $200 is a fair price. There is only one lab in the country that does allergy testing so pretty much all vets charge the same amount since it costs all of them the same amount.

There are different levels of allergy testing but the one that is the most common is where they test for the allergens common in your area of the country. Where I work we usually reserve allergy testing for the really severe cases but I've definitely seen it help. Usually it's not a 100% recovery but there is a significant improvement. The thing is that it doesn't stop with the allergy testing. Once the test is done the lab makes up an allergy shot that is then administered weekly (I believe) and that's where the relief comes from. We usually show the owners how to give the shot and they do it themselves at home, which is why I'm not 100% sure on the schedule.

Food changes can definitely help if it's a food allergy but for some dogs it's not food, or just food, that they are allergic too. Heck, we've had dogs at work come back allergic to cats! If you are still up to trying different foods the Wellness Allergy line is a good one and probably worth a go for 6 weeks or so. It's important to remember when testing new foods that the dog can have NOTHING but the food the entire time. No treats, no table scraps, nothing! That's the only way to tell if it's actually helping or not.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!
 

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Some people have found that feeding raw helps even if there are other allergies. Allergies add up so one trigger may not be a problem but add on another or more then there may be a reaction. So if the tests show allergies to ragweed, dust mites, mold, chicken and soybeans the dog may not have an allergic response to a ragweed exposure if there isn't exposure to mites, mold, chicken and soybeans.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I made an appt to have the allergy blood test done. Brought in dog to find out that they can't have food for at least 12 hrs prior. Reschedule appt, bring dog in, find out that dog can't have any allergy meds for 7 days prior! Me ANGRY!
I take dog to a dermatologist. We put him on prescription diet for at least 3 months ($93 for a 27 lb bag!) and I am giving flea/tick treatment every 2.5 to 3 weeks.
If that doesn't work (meaning it's not a food allergy or flea reaction), then we will have to get a referral to get an allergy test. I don't want the blood one- because the results are not very inclusive and the treatment is steroids. Whereas, the old school, shave and pin prick seems to be much more inclusive. That way we can eliminate what he is allergic to.
Problem? My first vet bill was $300 and the pin prick will be between $800-$1,000!
OMG!
Has anyone had the blood test done? If so, what was the outcome?
Has anyone had the shave and prick test done? If so, what was the outcome?
 
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