In-house testing: Key to unlocking allergy control and symptom relief for your pet in Oakleaf Plantation, FL

If you or a family member have allergies, you may already know about the allergy testing that we at Orange Park Animal Hospital at Oakleaf offer. After all, the ways that we identify the allergens responsible for your pet’s itching, swelling, sneezing, nausea, rashes, diarrhea, and other symptoms are similar to the testing and control associated with their human parents. 

Testing our pet friends in the Oakleaf Plantation, FL area

Accurate diagnostics are fundamental. Led by our primary veterinarian, Dr. James Gillen, our hospital offers a range of in-house diagnostic tools to help rule out suspected allergens and zero in on the actual cause of your dog’s or cat’s distress. Once we confirm the allergen, Dr. Gillen will recommend the appropriate strategies to eliminate or minimize the risk of exposure to the offending substance. When your pet is not exposed to the allergen, he or she does not have the opportunity to react to this trigger.

Depending on the type of allergen that is suspected, we may recommend one of the following tests: 

  • Skin impression / tape cytology and skin scrape – these are usually the first diagnostics performed to evaluate for secondary complicating infections with bacteria, yeast, or parasites such as mites.
  • Fungal PCR and culture – these tests are run to rule out ringworm related infections and require collection of hair around a suspected ringworm lesion to check for ringworm organism DNA (via PCR) or direct visualization of the fungal species (via culture).
  • Patch test – similar to patch tests in human medicine, a suspected allergen is introduced to your pet in a controlled manner and his or her reaction is monitored for signs such as swelling or discoloration. The offending allergens will be noted and eliminated so they no longer harm your pet. 
  • Intradermal allergy testing – similar to intradermal testing (IDT) in human medicine, a series of intradermal injections containing different allergens are given in the skin of your pet and depending on the skin’s reaction, allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) may be started. (This testing requires referral to a veterinary dermatology specialist)
  • Scratch or patch testing for pets – Similar to human patch testing, the allergen is introduced to your dog or cat in a controlled or safe manner through a small opening or prick on the surface of the skin. We will monitor your pet’s reaction. We will watch for signs like red discoloration and swelling. We will note the allergens that caused these reactions and eliminate those allergens that do not produce an effect on your pet. 
  • Food challenges – If an allergy to certain ingredients in foods is suspected, we will put your dog or cat on a specific diet. Generally, the new diet does not contain beef, dairy, and other common allergy-causing proteins and carbs. Ingredients are later re-introduced. You will monitor for changes as potential allergens are added back to the diet. This approach pinpoints the components that are responsible for your pet’s reactions. 


The approach we take to resolve your pet’s symptoms depends on what we determine to be the allergen following the above testing. The most straightforward method is to avoid the allergen. If your pet has an environmental allergen, such as dust, pollen, or perfumed products, lifestyle changes may be in order. Additionally, we can help to improve the severity and frequency of symptoms with medications or medicated topicals, such as shampoos. 

There are numerous potential allergens. Accordingly, there are many likely testing and management options. Schedule a visit to our hospital today to get your pet looking and feeling its healthy best.