The ACVD task force on canine atopic dermatitis (XVI): laboratory evaluation of dogs with atopic dermatitis with serum-based "allergy" tests

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2001 Sep 20;81(3-4):277-87. doi: 10.1016/s0165-2427(01)00304-x.


Serum-based in vitro "allergy tests" are commercially available to veterinarians, and are widely used in diagnostic evaluation of a canine atopic patient. Following initial clinical diagnosis, panels of allergen-specific IgE measurements may be performed in an attempt to identify to which allergens the atopic dog is hypersensitive. Methodology for these tests varies by laboratory; few critical studies have evaluated performance of these tests, and current inter-laboratory standardization and quality control measures are inadequate. Other areas where information is critically limited include the usefulness of these tests in diagnosis of food allergy, the effect of extrinsic factors such as season of the year on results, and the influence of corticosteroid treatment on test results. Allergen-specific IgE serological tests are never completely sensitive, nor completely specific. There is only partial correlation between the serum tests and intradermal testing; however, the significance of discrepant results is unknown and unstudied. Variation in test methodologies along with the absence of universal standardization and reporting procedures have created confusion, varying study results, and an inability to compare between studies performed by different investigators.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / blood
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / blood*
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dog Diseases / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunologic Tests / veterinary
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States


  • Immunoglobulin E