Artuvetrin® Skin Test
The Artuvetrin® Skin Test determines to which substances a dog is allergic, by injecting small amounts of different allergens in the pet’s skin (intradermal). Subsequently, it is possible to evaluate whether or not a local reaction develops at the site of the injection.
Based on the clinical history of the patient, it is possible to perform a skin test with the most relevant allergens. We have about 80 different allergens available for skin testing.
- 80 individual allergens or mixtures available
- 3 ml vials (enough for 60 tests)
- Shelf life of 6 months
Before carrying out the skin test, any medication that could affect the allergy and itching – including prednisone, cyclosporine and antihistamine – must be suspended for typically 2 – 6 weeks. The skin test is carried out on the lateral thorax of the patient after carefully shaving a patch.
Performing the test
A very small quantity (0.05 ml) of the allergen and control solutions (positive and negative control) is injected into the skin at different places. After 15-20 minutes, all the injection sites are assessed on skin swelling (wheal formation). If a pet 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 pet is allergic. Naturally, an animal may be allergic to many substances.
- Carefully shave the dog’s lateral thorax wall. The test must be administered on intact skin.
- Number the injection sites on the dog’s skin with a marker or pen at intervals of 2.5 cm.
- Fill the syringes with the different allergen and control solutions.
- Administer 0.05 ml of each allergen and control solution intracutaneously (a bubble will appear after injection) with the number on the holder corresponding to the number written on the skin.
- Read the skin reaction after 15-20 minutes by labelling the increase in the wheal with a marker or pen.
Artuvetrin® Skin Test set
Because we have over 80 individual allergens and mixtures available for skin testing, you can compose your own skin test set. You can also use our suggested basic skin test set:
- Negative control
- Positive control
- Grass pollen mix
- Tree pollen mix 1
- Tree pollen mix 2
- Weed pollen mix
- Copra mite
- Farinae mite
- Hay mite
- House dust mite
- Grain mite
- Cat epithelium
- Fungal mix
Interpretation of the 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 ruler.
The response to the negative control is generally 0 mm.
The allergen with a wheal diameter of more than half the wheal caused by the positive control (or half the diameter of the ‘positive’ wheal minus that of the ‘negative’ wheal) is to be considered as positive.
When evaluating positive reactions, the size and configuration of the wheals are important, but it is just as essential to check whether or not the concerning allergen is relevant.
Also when interpreting positive reactions, it is important to realize that indirect contact (for example, clothing after horse-riding lessons) may lead to relevant, specific reactions.
Frequently asked questions
Artuvetrin® Skin Test
What is the expiration date of the Artuvetrin Skin Test after breaching the vial?
The expiration is determined by the stability of the allergens. After breaching the vial, the expiration date as mentioned on the label will still be valid.
Can cats be tested with the Artuvetrin Skin Test and treated with Artuvetrin Therapy?
The pathogenesis of skin problems, due to an undesirable reaction to allergens in the environment, is largely unknown in cats. It is not fully clear how reliable the skin test is for cats. The effect of immunotherapy in cats indicates a significant improvement of the clinical signs (60-70%)¹. These results are reiterated by the experience of some veterinaries using immunotherapy in cats. The Artuvetrin Skin Test and Artuvetrin Therapy are not registered for cats.
¹Efficacy 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
What is the waiting time for performing the Artuvetrin Skin Test when using steroids, cyclosporine or antihistamine?
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, immunosuppressants, 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
Which types of sedation may be used for the Artuvetrin Skin Test and which cannot be used?
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.
Anaesthetics and sedatives that do not affect the results of intracutaneous tests¹:
- Xylazinehydrochloride (including Sedazine)
- Medetomidine (including Domitor)
- Tiletamine hydrochloride/zolazepam hydrochloride (including Zoletil)
Anaesthetics and sedatives that affect the results of intracutaneous tests:
- Xylazinehydrochloride/Ketamine hydrochloride
- Ketamine hydrochloride(including keta-ject)
- Acepromaxinemaleate (Neurotranq)
¹The ACVD Task Force on Canine Atopic Dermatitis (xvII): intradermal testing vet Immunology and Immunopathology 81 (2001) 289-304
Which drugs can be administered without affecting the results of the Artuvetrin Skin Test and serum test?
As far 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:
- Anti-fungal agents
- Heartworm drugs
- Anti-Flea agents and devices
- Thyroid medication
- Heart medication
This means that the use of the above medication can be continued as normal.
How to interpret the Artuvetrin Skin Test when the negative control is not 0 mm?
If a negative control is 0 mm, it must be compensated.
The following formula can be used:
Negative control + positive control =
Negative control 6 mm
Positive control 14 mm
6 mm + 14 mm = 10 mm
All results equal or above 10 mm are positive.
What are the advantages of the Artuvetrin Skin Test compared with the Artuvetrin Serum Test?
The advantages of the Artuvetrin Skin Test are:
- A single vial can be used to perform approx. 60 tests which makes it more cost-effective.
- This test is more flexible because of our wide range of allergens (over 80 different allergens available). It is possible to compose your own individual test set based on which allergens are relevant.
- The skin test is performed directly on the skin (local reaction) giving an immediate result.