If your dog suffers from allergies and other treatments haven't eased his symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend an allergy test. The test will determine exactly what your dog is allergic to so that he can receive a vaccine against the specific allergen.
A skin, or intradermal allergy test, involves shaving off a patch of fur and injecting your dog with a small amount of various potential allergens in a grid-like pattern. The veterinarian then checks to see if your dog's skin reacts to the injections. This is the most common and reliable type of allergy testing available for dogs. Prices for this test vary from clinic to clinic and may depend on the number of allergens tested. Usually, around 60 different allergens are used, and the cost of the test averages $200.
Blood testing is easier on your dog, since he doesn't have to be subjected to multiple injections. It also can be performed by your regular veterinarian, without the need for a specialist. There is some evidence, however, that blood testing is not as reliable as skin testing. The cost is about the same, with blood tests averaging $200, but reaching as much as $300.
Some clinics include an exam fee in the cost of the skin or blood test, while others charge each one separately. Check with your veterinarian or specialist when scheduling the appointment to see whether the quote for testing cost includes the exam fee. This fee can range from a low of about $50 for an established patient, up to $200 or more for a new patient visit with a specialty veterinarian.
Nearly all dogs need to be sedated for a skin allergy test. Sedation keeps your dog calm and relaxed while the injections are being administered, and prevents false test results because he is overexcited. Like the exam fee, some clinics include the cost of sedation in the price of the testing, while others assess a separate fee. The cost of sedation depends on the type of sedative used and the size of your pet, and averages between $45 and $100.
Although not a part of the actual testing, the purpose of allergy testing is to formulate an allergy vaccine specifically for your dog. Some clinics include the cost of treatments in a total allergy testing package. These total packages range from $600 to $1,100. Your veterinarian should be able to give you an estimate of the cost of treatment prior to testing.