Thursday, February 2, 2012

Allergy Test Results

Though I kind of swore not to go back to the dermatologist ever again, I had to give in because we ran out of Atopica and they refused to give us another refill unless we do a follow-up. I thought about going to a different dermatologist, but I really don't want to go through all the blah blah blah again with yet another doctor, since Maya's conditions are already pretty well under control now. 

Last dermatologist visit in Sept. 2011

The doctor was really impressed by Maya's improvement since she last saw her and was surprised that she's doing fine with such a low dosage (a 25mg pill every 3 days without the booster). She encouraged me to even lower the dosage if possible, but to be cautious when spring arrives. She was also a bit hesitant when I told her Maya's on a raw diet, as Atopica suppresses the immune system and may make Maya more prone to infections. She wanted me to switch to a home cooked diet instead, but I'm still not so sure about this. 

Maya had her blood drawn without a flinch

Since we were already spending the big bucks on the office visit, I figured we might as well get an allergy test done. The doctor gave us two options: skin test or blood test. I really don't want Maya's fur being shaved nor her being put under, so I opted in for the blood test, though it might be less accurate.

About a week later, the results came back. To my surprise, it's far from what I imagined. I always thought she's allergic to some grass/tree that's common in the parks or some sort of dust mite that resides in the house, but looks like those are fine. So what's on the list?
  • Fea Saliva: 389 EA units
  • Cat Epithelium: 152 EA units
  • Orchard Grass: 110 EA units
  • Yellow Dock: 102 EA units
  • Bluegrass, June: 85 EA units
  • Russian Thistle: 80 EA units
(According to the report, "EA units of 150 or higher may be considered significant".)

Test results (sorry, we don't have a scanner at home)


Looks like this is the biggest offender. We did catch a flea during Maya's worst days, but her symptoms were kind of different from typical flea allergies, which usually occur around the back legs and root of tail area, so I thought it wasn't related. It could be because Maya's fur is so thick, the only areas where the fleas could get to were her face and paws. This can also explains why Maya's conditions gets worse whenever we visit a dog park or go on hike.

Though she's already using Frontline for flea prevention, but seems like it only kills fleas that bites her, but wouldn't stop fleas from biting her, which in her case is already too late. Unfortunately, there's not a cure for flea allergies, we'll have to make sure no fleas come near her at all.


Maya has never been in close proximity of a cat, at least since we got her. We don't have a cat, nor any of our immediate neighbors. There could be other tenants in the building that have cats, and I know my boyfriend's coworker has one too, but in either case, the contact is so minimun. There's also the vet that's across the street from us, which our window is facing, but it's quite far from us. If cats really are causing the trouble, there really isn't much I can do. 

Weeds and Grasses

If the numbers are accurate, the weeds and grasses shouldn't be much of a concern. Besides, according to the doctor, they grow mostly in the wild. I'm really bad at recognizing plants, but I'll keep a few pictures in my phone and try to match them next time we go hiking.

Orchard Grass: from UC IPM
Yellow Duck: from Wikipedia
Bluegrass: from Wikipedia
Russian Thistle: from UC IPM

My Plan

There really isn't much I can do about the cats and plants, so I'll focus on the fleas for now. I'm planning to add some fresh garlic and brewer's yeast to her diet as well as spray some rosemary water with lavender oil on her fur. The goal will be to turn her into the most unattractive beast for fleas. Hopefully, this can keep her itchiness under control and stop relying on the drugs for good.

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