ALERT® Canine Allergic Tendency Reference Test
How can the ALERT® test be used as a diagnostic tool in vet clinics?

Canine atopic dermatitis is often connected with Type I hypersensitivity, but what makes it difficult for veterinarians is that there are no specific clinical symptoms for Type I hypersensitivity. The total IgE (tIgE) concentrations in the blood are usually elevated in Type I hypersensitivity. By using the Alert® Canine Allergic Tendency Reference Test, we can detect a dog’s tIgE by taking a small serum or plasma sample. In just 10 -15 minutes, we can determine whether the dog has a tendency to allergies. It provides an objective and scientific diagnosis for the veterinarians.

Is there a relation between the tIgE concentration and the severity of allergies?

There is no absolute relation between the tIgE concentration and the severity of allergies published. That is, we cannot use IgE concentrations as a single factor to predict or affirm the frequency and severity of allergies, as individual differences exist. However, it is definite that when dogs have elevated IgE concentrations, they are at higher risk of allergies. They are prone to be allergic to certain substances in the environment or in their food.

Will dogs exhibiting allergic symptoms always tested positive and vice versa? (Dogs showing no symptom will yield a negative result).

According to clinical tests, Alert® showed 90% sensitivity, but there still a small amount of dogs with symptoms that had negative results because of species differences or medication. If a dog has clinical symptoms and is suspected to be an allergic dog, it is suggested that the owner stop administering steroids for at least 2 weeks, then perform the test again. They can also take the Canine 62 specific IgE test to find out the allergens that are causing allergies. On the other hand, a negative result may suggest that Type I hypersensitivity may not be the main cause of the clinical signs. Further examination is suggested to find out other possible causes.

What can be done for positive cases?

The Canine 62 Specific IgE Test is suggested to further pinpoint the environmental and/or food allergens that are causing the increased IgE. At the same time, taking functional probiotics that are designed for dogs (AllertSoft II™) can assist in the relief allergic symptoms.

How long is the half-life of IgE?

There are 2 forms of IgE that exist in organisms: free form and bound form. “Free form” IgE are proteins that are not bound to the allergens or mast cells. They have a half-life of 2-3 days; the other is “Bound form” IgE, which are proteins that bind to the receptors on the white blood cell surface. Due to this binding, its half-life is prolongs to 10-12 days. This is why it is common for dogs showing allergy symptoms to relapse again during a short period of time.

What is the threshold of Alert®? How was the threshold decided?

The threshold is 10ug/ml. In a clinical study, 410 dogs with allergies were examined, 370 cases showed allergic symptoms and were diagnosed by veterinarians with allergies, while 40 cases showed no allergic symptoms and were diagnosed by veterinarians as normal. By measuring the total IgE and statistical analysis with clinical data of these 410 cases, the threshold was set at 10ug/ml.

Does hemolysis or lipemia affect the result of test?

After dilution with buffer solution, hemolysis and lipemia will not likely affect the interpretation of the test. However, if veterinarians can collect the serum samples as carefully as possible in order to avoid hemolysis, the background can be more clean and allowing for clearer results.

Does medication affect the accuracy of Alert®?

Yes. Steroids may affect the concentration of IgE, which can lead to inaccurate test results. Steroids should be stopped for at least 2 weeks before taking the test to get the more precise results. Antihistamines on the other hand, will not affect the results and is not necessary to stop usage. If the pet is taking other medication, please consult with the partitioning veterinarian.

Why is there a color indicator card included with the Alert® test?

As the pre-set threshold is 10ug/ml, samples equal or above the threshold, yield a positive result, while negative result fall below the value. When IgE concentrations fall on the borderline (10-15μg/ml), the T-line will appear pale pink making it difficult to distinguish from a negative result. Thus, the indicator card is provided to assist the veterinarian when reading the result. If the color of T-line matches No. 1 to 4, the result is positive.

Does the color intensity of the T-line correlate with the level of tIgE concentration? For example, a darker T-line represents higher tIgE concentration?

Yes, the higher the tIgE concentration is, the darker the T-line will appear. However, there are many factors that may affect the T-line color, such as environmental temperature (higher than 30。C or lower than 15。C), sample hemolysis, and improper or incorrect operation. Alert® is not a quantitative detective tool and can only be used to differentiate if tIgE in the sample is higher than the pre-set cut-off concentration point and cannot measure the precise quantity of tIgE.

How can we determine if a dog has allergic physical composition?

The veterinarian can provide a whole evaluation according to the dog’s species, onset time, medical history, clinical symptoms, and so forth. CADESI (an evaluation index and objective tool) can also be used to determine the dog’s allergic condition. We can use Alert® to detect tIgE concentration as a consultation. The final diagnosis of allergies still requires the professional judgment of veterinarians.