Search the Kerry Blues Website

  • Sign In

    Forgot password?
  • or
  • Join Now

Take a peek into the world of Kerry Blue Terriers!

  No


Allergy Glossary


© Copyright 2011 Whole Dog Journal. Reprinted with permission, Belvoir Media Group, LLC.

No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from Copyright Whole Dog Journal. Reprinted with permission, Belvoir Media Group, LLC. .


A substance that causes an allergic reaction. Anything can be an allergen to a hypersensitive individual, even water. The term has meaning only in relation to an individual who is hypersensitive to that substance.

Allergen-specific immunotherapy:

Also known as "allergy shots." An injection that is custom-made for each patient based on results of intradermal skin tests. The injections contain saline solution and tiny amounts of (commercially produced) extracts from the substances to which the patient is hypersensitive. The injections are given once or twice weekly for four to six months (or longer); the amount of the allergens that the injections contain is slowly increased until a "maintenance dose" is achieved. This therapy is extremely effective, though time-consuming and (over time) expensive.

Allergic contact dermatitis:

A hypersensitivity reaction to skin contact with an environmental substance.


Hair loss.


Also known as immunoglobulin. A complex Y-shaped protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign substances. Antibodies are produced by white blood cells.


A molecule that induces the formation of antibodies.


Also known as "canine atopic dermatitis." A hereditary and chronic allergic skin disease. Dogs may be allergic to inhaled substances or substances their skin has comes in contact with. Redness and hair loss from scratching is often worst around the eyes, muzzle, ears, and on the feet.

Food hypersensitivity:

Also known as "food allergy." An uncommon, nonseasonal hypersensitivity caused by a dietary substance; an abnormal immunologic response to an ingested substance. Food hypersensitivity is not usually associated with a change in diet. Most dogs who develop the condition have eaten the same food for more than two years. A dog can develop a food allergy to any food, but the most commonly incriminated foods in canine food hypersensitivity include beef, dairy products, lamb, poultry products, wheat, soy, corn, rice, and eggs. (Note that these are also some of the most common ingredients in commercial pet food.)

Intradermal (skin) tests:

A test in which tiny amounts of various environmental allergens (such as local tree, grass, and flower pollens) are injected under the dog's skin, and the skin is observed for a reaction. Redness and swelling indicates a substance to which the dog is allergic. Needed in order to customize a dog's immunotherapeutic injections ("allergy shots").

In vitro diagnostic tests:

Also known as blood or serologic tests for antigeninduced antibodies, ELISA, or RAST tests. Not very reliable indicators of allergy because of the large numbers of false positive and false negative results.


Itchiness; an unpleasant sensation that causes the desire to scratch.


A bacterial infection of the skin. Generally treated with antibiotics, but the underlying cause of the infection needs to be addressed, too, so the condition doesn't recur. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on whether the pyoderma originates from deep within the skin or closer to the surface (superficial).


Bacterial infection that produces pus (dead white blood cells).

Share This Article

Question of the Week

Previous Questions of the Week Ideas

Today is July 19, 2019

On this day in 1953:

Ch. Foxhill's Thunderbolt won Best in Show at the Lions Kennel Club show in Salem, Oregon

About Us

The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Kerry Blue Terrier breed in the areas of education, rescue and health & genetics. Learn More.


Join Our Email Newsletter List.

Contact Info


P. O. Box 1495
Solvang, CA 93464

Box 109
11420 - 142 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5M 1V1


Corrections? Feedback?

Contact the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation