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Artuvetrin® Skin Test

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Artuvetrin® Skin Test

The Artuvetrin® Skin Test is a series of injections to determine to which substances a dog is allergic. Based on his/her experience and on the clinical history of the patient a veterinarian will prepare a skin test consisting of the most relevant allergens. A skin test can only be carried out in a veterinary clinic.

Using the test

Before carrying out the skin test, any medication that could affect the allergy and itching (including prednisone, cyclosporine, and antihistamine) must be suspended for a number of weeks. The skin test is carried out on the chest after carefully shaving a patch.
A very small quantity (0.05 ml) of the allergen and control solutions (positive and negative controls) is injected into the skin at different places. After 15-20 minutes, all the injection places are assessed on skin swelling (wheal formation). If a dog is allergic to a certain substance, an inflammation reaction will appear in the skin, expressed in swelling. The extent of swelling is compared with the extent of swelling of the positive and negative control. This way it is possible to determine the substances to which the dog is allergic. Naturally, an animal may be allergic to many substances.

Artuvetrin® Skin Test set

The specially developed Artuvetrin® Skin Test can be used to determine to which substances the dog is allergic. Over 80 different allergens are available for this test. The skin test set can be configured to suit your needs including 2 control solutions. You can create your own special test set.

A suggested basic skin test set:

1. Negative control
2. Positive control
3. Grass pollen mix
4. Tree pollen mix 1
5. Tree pollen mix 2
6. Weed pollen mix
7. Copra mite
8. Farinae mite
9. Hay mite
10. House dust mite
11. Grain mite
12. Cat epithelium
13. Fungal mix
14. Flea

Conducting the skin test

Before conducting the Artuvetrin® Skin Test, please make sure that no other veterinary drugs do affect the animal. Treatments with immuno-suppressants like steroids, antihistamines, and tranquillisers must be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to the test; after a one-off injection of a depot-cortico-steroid, a waiting period of even 6 weeks applies. The test is to be conducted on the lateral thorax wall after carefully shaving the skin in that respective area, which must be, and remain, smooth and unbroken.

  • Number the injection sites on the skin using a felt-tip or marker, 2.5 cm apart from one another.
  • Fill the injection syringes with the various allergen solutions and control solutions.
  • Administer 0.05 ml of each allergen solution and control solution intracutaneously (you will see a small wheal after the injection), so that the number on the vials corresponds to the number written on the skin.

interpretation of the skin test

The reactions are measured after 15 minutes but no later than 20 minutes, and the increased wheal is marked with the skin marker or a highlight marker. In order to evaluate the results you can use a wheal gauge.

The response to the negative control is generally 0mm.
The allergen with a wheal diameter of more than half the wheal caused by the positive (histamine) control (or half the diameter of the ‘positive’ wheal minus that of the ‘negative’ (phosphate) wheal is to be considered as positive.
When evaluating positive reactions, the size and configuration of the wheals are naturally important, but it is just as essential to check whether or not the concerning allergen is relevant. In particular in animal epithelium, irrelevant reactions have been known to occur frequently.
Also when interpreting positive reactions, it is important to realise that indirect contact (for example, clothing after horse-riding lessons) may lead to relevant, specific reactions.

Frequently asked questions

The expiration is determined by the stability of the allergens. There is hardly any risk of contamination. After breaching the vial, the expiration date as printed on the label will not change.

The pathogenesis of skin problems, due to an undesirable reaction to allergens in the environment, is largely unknown in cats. The reliability of the results of the skin tests for cat allergens is not fully clear. The effect of immunotherapy in cats was researched in some studies, indicating a significant improvement of the complaints1. These results seem to be reiterated by the experience of some veterinaries applying immunotherapy to cats. The Artuvetrin® Skin Test and Artuvetrin® Therapy products are not registered for application in cats.

1 Efficacy of hyposensitisation in feline allergic diseases based upon the results of in vitro testing for allergen-specific immunoglobulin E Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, Vol. 33, Issue 3, 282-288

Certain veterinary drugs may interfere with the skin test. At least two weeks prior to the allergy test (6 weeks for depot preparations), any medication with corticosteroids, tranquillisers, immuno-suppressants, and antihistamines must be suspended.

Olivery, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for anti-allergic drug withdrawal times before allergen-specific intradermal and IgE serological tests in dogs Vet derm. 24 (2013) 225-232

As the skin test is, in principle, not painful, analgesics (anaesthetics) are not needed. Sedation will suffice. When choosing a sedative, please carefully consider which drug to administer. See the table below1.

1 The ACVD Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis (xvII): intradermal testing vet Immunology and Immunopathology 81 (2001) 289-304

Anaesthetics and sedatives that do not affect
the results of intracutaneous tests
Anaesthetics and sedatives that affect the results
of intracutaneous tests
Xylazinehydrochloride (including Sedazine®) Xylazinehydrochloride/Ketamine hydrochloride
Medetomidine (including Domitor®) Ketamine hydrochloride(including keta-ject®)
Tiletamine hydrochloride/zolazepam hydrochloride (including Zoletil®) Diazepam
Halothane Acepromaxinemaleate (Neurotranq®)
Isoflurane Propofol®

Insofar as we know, the following medication can be administered to dogs or cats that are to be subjected to a skin test without affecting the results:

– Antibiotics
– Anti-fungal agents
– Heartworm drugs
– Flea agents and devices
– Thyroid medication
– Heart medication
– Painkillers (NSAIDs).
This means that the use of the above medication can be continued as normal.

If a negative check results in > 0 mm, this must be compensated.

The following formula can be used:

Negative control + positive control =

Negative check 6 mm
Positive check 14mm

6mm + 14mm = > 10mm

All results above 10mm are positive.

The benefits of the skin test compared with the blood test are:

  • The skin test is more cost-effective when testing dogs frequently.
  • The standard test series can be supplemented with various other allergens if relevant. The skin test is, therefore, more flexible compared with the serum test in terms of individual allergens.
  • The skin test produces an immediate result.
  • The exact body part with the clinical symptoms is tested with the Artuvetrin® Skin Test allergens.

The disadvantages of the skin test compared with the blood test are:

  • The dog’s skin must be shaved locally near the skin test place.
  • The use of some veterinary drugs must be suspended before conducting a skin test (which is not the case for a blood test).
  • Conducting a skin test requires some skill.
  • The skin test is more expensive compared with the serum test if few dogs are tested.
  • The skin test has a short shelf life.
  • Conducting the skin test takes more time for the veterinarian than taking blood for a serum test.