What is an allergy test?
Allergy tests are often recommended for itchy pets, as well as dogs and cats with visible skin issues. They allow your veterinarian to determine whether your pet's condition may be caused by an intolerance to a specific allergen, such as food ingredients or air pollutants.
Allergy testing involves either a blood or skin analysis. A blood sample is the most common way to test pets' allergies because it's easier and more convenvient. In order to perform this test, a small sample of the pet’s blood is taken and tested for a reaction to a number of different allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen. The blood allergy test can also determine allergic reactions to materials such as nylon and cotton, as well as food allergies.
Skin allergy testing (also known as intradermal testing) is more invasive and time-consuming compared to blood allergy testing. To perform this test, a veterinarian will first sedate the pet then shave a small area of fur to expose the underlying skin beneath. Then, he or she will inject trace amounts of an allergen sample beneath the pet's skin in a specific pattern to view where a reaction (if any) occurs. This enables the vet to diagnose a pet's allergy to the corresponding injection sample.
How does allergy testing work?
Whether your pet insurance policy will cover allergy testing will depend on the type of plan you have. Some only cover vet bills relating to accidents but others include coverage for illnesses, too. The most comprehensive pet insurance plans can reimburse you for the cost of a pet's allergy test, as well as the vet visit cost. Keep in mind, though, no company offers pet insurance for pre-existing conditions, so your cat or dog's allergy test wouldn't not be reimbursable if it occurred before policy enrollment.
If pet allergies are a primary concern, when you buy pet insurance, you might consider purchasing supplemental coverage that includes preventative screenings and chronic conditions to maximize your reimbursement rate.
Average cost of pet allergy test
Pet allergy testing can cost between $200 and $400. The price does not include the cost of the vet exam, additional testing, or prescription medications, which means the entire sick visit might result in a bill over $1,000.
Although allergy testing might seem like a big expense, it can be the best way to identify your pet’s problem and provide proper treatment. In such cases, having a pet insurance plan that covers allergies can be of great help.