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Evaluation of the safety of an abbreviated course of injections of allergen extracts (rush immunotherapy) for the treatment of dogs with atopic dermatitis

Ralf S. Mueller Dr med vet1,2 and Sonya V. Bettenay BVSc3,4
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  • 1 Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149, Australia.
  • | 2 Present address is Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic, Mount Waverley, VIC 3149, Australia.
  • | 4 Present address is Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the safety of an abbreviated course of injections of allergen extracts (rush immunotherapy) for the treatment of dogs with atopic dermatitis.

Animals—30 dogs with atopic dermatitis examined at a veterinary dermatology referral practice for treatment with allergen-specific immunotherapy.

Procedure—A catheter was placed in a vein in each dog. Dogs were constantly observed throughout the procedure. Allergen extracts were administered in increasing concentrations every 30 minutes for 6 hours to a maintenance concentration of 20,000 protein nitrogen units/ml. Epinephrine, oxygen, and emergency treatment were available as needed.

Results—In 22 (73%) dogs, rush immunotherapy safely replaced the prolonged induction period (15 weeks) of weekly injections that consists of increasing concentrations of allergen extract. In 7 (23%) dogs, the induction period was abbreviated to 4 weeks. Of the 8 dogs that developed problems during rush immunotherapy, increased pruritus necessitated premature cessation of rush immunotherapy in 7, and 1 developed generalized wheals. Oral administration of prednisolone (1 mg/kg of body weight) resulted in resolution of adverse effects in all 8 dogs.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Rush immunotherapy performed by personnel at a veterinary hospital is a safe method for treatment of dogs with atopic dermatitis. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:307–310)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the safety of an abbreviated course of injections of allergen extracts (rush immunotherapy) for the treatment of dogs with atopic dermatitis.

Animals—30 dogs with atopic dermatitis examined at a veterinary dermatology referral practice for treatment with allergen-specific immunotherapy.

Procedure—A catheter was placed in a vein in each dog. Dogs were constantly observed throughout the procedure. Allergen extracts were administered in increasing concentrations every 30 minutes for 6 hours to a maintenance concentration of 20,000 protein nitrogen units/ml. Epinephrine, oxygen, and emergency treatment were available as needed.

Results—In 22 (73%) dogs, rush immunotherapy safely replaced the prolonged induction period (15 weeks) of weekly injections that consists of increasing concentrations of allergen extract. In 7 (23%) dogs, the induction period was abbreviated to 4 weeks. Of the 8 dogs that developed problems during rush immunotherapy, increased pruritus necessitated premature cessation of rush immunotherapy in 7, and 1 developed generalized wheals. Oral administration of prednisolone (1 mg/kg of body weight) resulted in resolution of adverse effects in all 8 dogs.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Rush immunotherapy performed by personnel at a veterinary hospital is a safe method for treatment of dogs with atopic dermatitis. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:307–310)