What is hyposensitization?
Hyposensitization helps to strengthen your animal's immune system against the allergens. It is extreemly important to keep in mind that allergy can not be "treated"; however, hyposensitization will "teach" the immune system to respond in a different manner - without or with reduced clinical signs of the allergy.
The hyposensitization process is simple and involves allergen injections following a strict schedule. Your veterinarian will show you how to perform the injections. As you follow the schedule the allergen concentrations will gradually increase, thus the response of the immune system will be changed slowly step by step. In each of the animals immunity is different and it is possible that the changes are needed in the injection schedule, in these cases you can contact your veterinarian and/or specialists at Vetfonds or Spectrum Labs.
How to treat food allergy?
In the cases of food allergy the only possible treatment is the avoidance of the allergens. Hyposensitization does not work in the cases of food allergy. If your animal has been diagnosed with food allergy Spectrum Labs together with the testing results will provide you with the list of pet food that does not contain allergens that are harmful to your animal.
How hyposensitization works?
As mentioned above, hyposensitization helps to strengthen the immunity against the harmful allergens. The basis of the allergic reaction is the production of immuneglobulins E (Ig E) in response to the allergens. Hyposensitization teaches the immune system to produce IgG instead of IgE, thus reducing the clinical signs of the allergy. The whole process is explained in the picture below. Figure shows that the IgG production increases gradually, thus the improvement of the clinical signs is not immediate after the start of the hyposensitization.
How long is the treatment?
Hyposensitization consists of 3 vials that are usually used during 9 months, sometimes, however, corrections in the injection schedule are needed. After the hyposensitization, animal requires the maintenance treatment for the rest of the life. As the immune system gets trained the injections are required less freequently, sometimes one per month or even longer.
How effective is this treatment?
If the cooperation between the animal, owner and veterinarian is excellent treatment is very effective (90% with significant improvement of the clinical signs). In some animals the symptoms decrease in 2-3 months, in some they take 9 months. On the average animals get better in 3-5 months. Below you can see the typical injection scheme.
- Plan the injections so that you can monitor the animal for 45-60 minutes after the injection. Monitoring is required to ensure that no adverse effects are observed. Adverse effects are very rare and occure during first hour after the injection.
- If you have missed the injection for a day, performe it on the next day. One or two day shift will not affect the treatment, especially if you are already in the latter phases of the hyposensitization or the maintenance treatment phase.
- Possible adverse effects that can be observed include increased itchyness and/or redness, very rarely difficult breathing, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy have been observed. In these cases the concentration of the allergen has been too high or the increase too steep and your veterinarian will make the necessary corrections in the injection schedule. Please, immediately make a note of the adverse effects in your Treatment Diary and notify your veterinarian in order to make the corrections in the treatment plan.
- Remember that the aim of the hyposensitization is to teach the immunity to resist to the effect of the allergens. Approximately 80-85% of animals respond to the initial injection shcedule, the rest require some adjustments. Adjustments are not a bad sign, they just show that your animal is more sensitive to one or other concentration of the allergens. After the adjustments are made and the hyposensitization course has ended, the results are the same as for those whe did not needed adjustments and the maintenance treatment can be started.
Are there any risks?
Adverse effects are very rare and if they occure they are not life thretening.