pblove wrote:question for misskiwi
is it worth it to do a food trial unless your certain it is food allergies, environmental allergies or yeast
Absolutely, because a diet trial is how you find out it is food allergies. The ONLY way to know if an animal has food, environmental or flea allergies is with testing. Anything else is just guessing, and trust me, its REALLY easy to guess wrong because so many factors play a role in an animals comfort and clinical signs.
A diet trial is not a method of feeding, it is a diagnostic test. There is no other adequate test for food allergies. However, if your dog is allergic to soy, and you feed them a duck/potato diet contaminated with soy, then you will get false test results. The diet trial is only as good as the diet you feed, and its an awful lot of work, especially if you are used to feeding treats and chew toys that suddenly have to be taken away. Even worse, a dog with food allergies is MUCH easier to control than a dog with environmental allergies, and poor testing can result in the dog not getting the care it needs as soon as it would have if a proper diet trial had been performed.
The test for yeast is a simple cytology, but yeast are sometimes hard to find. Treatment involves long-term medications which can be hard on the liver, or treating the underlying disease, most often allergies.
The test for environmental allergies in intradermal testing, serum testing can help, but its not as good as we'd like it to be.
Since food is something you will give your dog anyway, its often the easiest first step to just change the diet and cut out all other foods to see if the problem resolves. Young dogs are also statistically more likely to have food allergies, so dogs that were symptomatic prior to 2 years of age should always start with a diet trial.