BSAVA Congress 2017


Avacta Animal Health are delighted to be exhibiting at the BSAVA Congress in Birmingham from 6 – 9 April 2017. Come along to stand 808 to say ‘Hello’

Whether you want to know more about our allergy services or our non-allergy products and innovations such as our canine lymphoma multi-marker algorithm-based test, there will be someone available to answer your questions.

At our stand you have the chance to win a £100 Amazon gift card by completing the exhibition voucher in the delegate packs, and whilst you’re there you may like to show off your creative skills by entering our ‘Name the PAW Pets’ competition.

Finally, there will be the opportunity to register your interest and get an exclusive look at this year’s Pet Allergy Week pack!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Avacta Animal Health 2016 Christmas opening hours

Please note over the festive period we will be closed for the national bank holidays. The customer services department and laboratory will be open for the normal working days between Christmas and New Year from 09.00 – 15.00.

All canine Lymphoma Blood Tests and Acute Phase Protein tests will be run as normal during working days.

Full working hours will resume on Tuesday 3rd January.

May we wish you a Happy Christmas and New Year from all the team at Avacta Animal Health.



Visit us at London Vet Show 2016!

lvs-buttonWe are delighted to be exhibiting and supporting the London Vet Show holiday passport at this year’s event in its new home at ExCel. Come along to M63 to learn about our complete allergy service of tests and treatments, including our new enhanced equine allergy test.

We’ll also be showcasing our range of revolutionary multi-marker algorithm based tests, including the canine lymphoma blood test (cLBT), and you can enter our caption competition courtesy of Natural VetCare Prescribed and have your advert created in Vet Times and VN Times!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Presentation at this summer’s World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology by Avacta’s Senior Research and Development Scientist Jennifer Bexley

At this summer’s World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology (WCVD) in Bordeaux, Avacta Animal Health’s Senior Research & Development Scientist Jennifer Bexley, at her 3rd successive WCVD, presented her research on SEROLOGICAL CROSS-REACTIVITY BETWEEN BEEF, LAMB AND COWS’ MILK ALLERGENIC EXTRACTS IN DOGS, which was co-authored by TJ Nuttall, B Hammerberg and REW Halliwell (Veterinary Dermatology 2016, 27 (suppl) 7).

Here’s a summary from Professor Richard E W Halliwell and the implications this has on the selection of foods for the diagnosis and/or management of possible cases for adverse food reactions (AFR).


Summary: The immunopathogenesis of adverse food reactions (AFRs) in dogs is uncertain, but likely to involve both IgE and cellmediated hypersensitivity. Supporting this contention are previous studies which showed an excellent correlation between results of patch testing (which is indicative of cell-mediated hypersensitivity) and results of provocation challenges with the same antigen. Similarly, in the same study, there was a high negative predictive value of both IgE and IgG serology and results of provocation challenges – i.e. if serology was negative, then there is little likelihood of involvement of that particular food (Bethlehem, Bexley and Mueller, Vet Immunol Immunopathol, 2012, 145:582-589). These studies have emphasised the need for knowledge concerning cross-reactivity of food antigens recognized by canine patients, so that potentially cross-reacting antigens can be avoided in the selection of antigens for inclusion in hypoallergenic diet trials.

The research reported herein was conducted by scientists at Avacta Animal Health and presented at the 8th World Congress of Veterinary Dermatology in Bordeaux this June. As a first step, results of serology for food antigen-specific IgE in sera from 469 dogs with suspected AFRs were analysed for evidence of statistically significant associations between multiple positive reactions within and across related antigen groups, i.e. mammalian, avian, fish and plants. It was found that there was a far greater likelihood of multiple positive reactions occurring to antigens within the same group, rather than between antigens in unrelated groups. Reactions to beef, lamb and cows’ milk were the most strongly correlated. However, this could be the result of co-sensitisation rather than cross-reactivity. Therefore in the second phase of the study, sera that were reactive to at least two of the three antigens (beef, lamb and milk) were selected for performing ELISA inhibition studies. In these, the addition of (say) beef antigen to a serum reactive to lamb (or milk) was assessed for the ability to inhibit the reaction, thus confirming true antigenic cross-reactivity. It was found that beef and lamb were highly cross-reactive, with milk also being cross-reactive although slightly less so.

Comments: These findings have important implications for the selection of foods for the diagnosis and/or management of possible cases of AFR. Thus if dietary history indicates that beef has been fed, lamb and dairy products should also be avoided in the selection of the most appropriate hypoallergenic diet trial. Similarly, if the history specifically implicates one of these antigens, all three should be avoided.Although antigenic cross-reactivity was only proven in respect of these three antigens, the fact that positive reactions in multireactive sera were significantly associated within rather than across related antigen groups suggests that further studies will likely show additional cross-reactions within antigen groups. In the light of this it would be prudent to formulate diets that avoid all antigens within the relevant group. So if a mammalian food has been fed, the trial diet should come from the avian, fish or plant group and vice versa. Of course, if serology is undertaken, then the existence of any possible cross-reactivity in the individual patient will become evident, and dietary selection can be optimised by choosing antigens with no serological reactivity.

To rule in or rule out – that is the question…

By Mark Dunning, MA VetMB CertSAM PhD DipECVIM-CA MRCVS, Clinical Associate Professor in Small Animal Internal Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham.

Sensitivity and specificity remain the statistical measures by which veterinary surgeons select their tests in an attempt to reach a confident diagnosis. These values are (usually) determined from ‘pure’ populations of animals with and without a particular disease using the gold standard reference test. In the ideal world sensitivity and specificity would both be 100%. This would mean that the test was perfect at both ruling out (excluding) and ruling in (diagnosing) a particular disease. Whilst this is desirable, in reality this is almost impossible to achieve. In reality what is achieved is a compromise between each measure. We will return to this concept in a future article.

Sensitivity represents the true positive rate – i.e. the number of animals correctly identified with the condition. Specificity represents the true negative rate – i.e. the number of animals correctly identified as not having the condition. Whilst applying sensitivity and specificity measures, we must remember that these have (usually) been determined in a pure population of affected and unaffected animals. This aspect must be considered in order to understand how these tests perform in particular clinical settings where the population is poorly defined……

Clearly when trying to diagnose a particular disease, we do not know whether it is present or absent, hence the reason for the test (!). Test performance becomes heavily influenced by the individual case and setting. The strengths of each measure must therefore be considered when attempting to interpret the test. So, to consider the terms slightly differently:

    • sensitive tests are best at ruling disease out (SeNsitivity OUT – SNOUT)
    • specific tests are best at ruling disease in (SPecificity IN – SPIN).

Therefore, if we want to use each test to the best of its capability we must refine our clinical approach and choose whether we want to exclude or diagnose the condition. This may seem obvious, however in many clinical situations vets are looking to diagnose a particular condition when they may be better excluding it. This is particularly true when seeing a case for the first time, as many different diseases are often being considered at this point. Unless a multitude of clinical signs are present at the time of first presentation (raising a very strong suspicion for one particular disease), a rule-out approach has the greatest strength.

It is therefore important to refine the clinical question that needs answering in order that the test result is reliable. In order to get the best out of the tests you are using it is desirable to know whether you should be trying to rule out a particular disease or rule it in. So using the little aide mémoires of SNOUT and SPIN, let’s use hyperadrenocorticism as an example:

If we consider dog 1 that is only suffering with PU/PD we would want to exclude it from our list of differentials as the likelihood of this being the cause is reasonably low when only one clinical sign is present.

If we consider dog 2 presenting with PU/PD, polyphagia, a pot-belly, lethargy and alopecia we would be highly suspicious of hyperadrenocorticism and therefore we would look to diagnose the disease not rule it out.

Under these situations, a sensitive test would be most appropriate for dog 1 whilst a specific test would be most suitable for dog 2 (SNOUT and SPIN).

We hope this helps with some aspects of your clinical decision-making and in selecting the most appropriate test for your case. This will help to avoid errors in result interpretation and ultimately misdiagnosis. We will follow this up in the next newsletter and discuss the importance of predictive values which are an essentially ‘applied’ sensitivity and specificity.

New case study – Tizer the horse

Tizer well 3Tizer, an ex-race horse, had erupted in severe hives. A long-acting steroid gave relief, but once it had worn off the hives returned. As part of an elimination process for finding out what was causing the hives, a SENSITEST allergy test was conducted.

Click HERE to read the full story and how SENSITEST helped Tizer                                       become hive free.

Case study – LOL the cat

montage_LOLRead how LOL, an 8 month old European short haired kitten who was being treated for generalised pruritus with severe lesions, benefited from a Feli-DIAL® test. This unique test assists in the selection of veterinary prescribed diet for an elimination dietary trial, as it detects the presence of specific IgE for each of the allergenic proteins contained various veterinary prescribed diets alongside the animal’s existing diet. To read more on LOL’s story click HERE

PAW Competition Winner 2016

We are delighted to announce the winner of our 2016 Pet Allergy Week (PAW) waiting room display competition.

CONGRATULATIONS to the team at Companion Care Ely, who put together this eye catching display for their surgery, which was used to raise awareness of allergies in dogs and cats during last month’s Pet Allergy Week.


Nancy, with her PAW waiting room display.



The display, which was used to inform clients about the signs and symptoms of pet allergies and the different allergens that can affect your pets, attracted a good amount of attention during Pet Allergy Week and the team were able to take advantage of the discounted tests that were offered out as part of PAW.






Nancy and the team and Companion Care Ely were delighted with their Lottie Shaw luxury Yorkshire hamper, as was the practice cat Brian.


Nancy and Brian receiving the hamper


Practice cat Brian was also pleased with the winnings.












Thank you to all the practices who entered our competition and took part in PAW!

PAW In Action!

LOLA PAW collageCelebrating PAW – Pet Allergy Week (6-12 June), is Lola [pictured] a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and patient of Milton Keynes based Willow Veterinary Group. The two year old who suffered alopecia, itching, pruritus, pyoderma and otitis externa from an early age is receiving immunotherapy following allergy testing, and has not looked back, says Willows VN, Stacey Armitt.

“After starting the treatment, Lola came off steroids and her overall body condition is much healthier. She is itching less and her skin is much less red. Some of her hair has also grown back,” explains Stacey.

“When Lola was first presented to us, skin scrapes were negative and steroids were only responsive for a short period. Targeted topicals and medication were used to try and control Lola’s worsening symptoms but it never cleared up. A sample was then taken and sent in for a SENSITEST® Complete Allergy Test and the results indicated raised antibodies to house dust mites, which went onto to be treated using allergen-specific immunotherapy,” she adds.

Lola’s owner, Aimee Holland, who has also implemented food and environment changes indicated by the test, is delighted and says that since starting the treatment, Lola no longer itches, her fur is growing back and her skin looks less red and angry. “She is a much happier and healthier dog. After trying everything, immunotherapy has given her a second chance to have a happy healthy life!” says Aimee.

The UK’s second PAW, June 6-12, is helping to raise awareness of allergies in cats and dogs. And a reminder for participating practises using pack materials from PAW organiser, Avacta Animal Health, that there is a prize for the best PAW waiting room display! Entries close 30th June. Also, discounted allergy tests in association with PAW will be accepted until 8th July says the company. To read Lola’s full case study click HERE



PAW logo 2016

From the 6th to 12th June 2016, we’re giving veterinary practices the opportunity to raise awareness of allergies in dogs and cats.

Is your practice set-up & ready?

– Have you put up your waiting room display?

– Have you filled up your leaflet holders?

– Do you have your discounted test stickers handy?

Discounted test stickers found in your PAW pack can be used right now & until the 8th July 2016.

The stickers entitle you to a significant saving on SENSITEST allergy tests;

– Complete Allergy Test for £125.00 (usual price £189.00)

– Complete+ Allergy Test for £155.00(usual price £279.00)

Just remember to attach a sticker to the submission form when you send in your test. If you need more stickers, just get in touch!

Please be sure to read the covering letter inside your PAW pack, which details;

HOW TO USE THE PAW PACK – We have a brand new design for this year’s waiting room display.

HOW TO CLAIM YOUR DISCOUNTED TEST – All registered practices will also be entitled to a substantial discount on all Complete and Complete+ canine and feline allergy tests submitted throughout the month of June. (Deadline 8th July)

HOW TO SUBMIT A TEST – The PAW pack will provide the tools for you to submit a blood sample.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS – Why not try and make the most of PAW this year by doing some of our ‘optional extras’, for example offering ‘free skin checks’ & ‘Discounted allergy tests’. Stickers promoting these ‘optional extras’ can be found in your PAW pack.

2016 Competition entry - Hawkedon & Homefield Vets Ltd

2016 Competition entry – Hawkedon & Homefield Vets Ltd

DON’T FORGET COMPETITION TIME – Be in with the chance to win a luxury hamper!

All practices who create a PAW waiting room display, can send us a picture of their hard work and the most creative display wins!

Its not too late to email a picture of your display and a member of your team, along with your practice details to

Also ….

Feel free to share your pictures on Facebook and Twitter & share it with us!

Proud sponsors of jerry green dog rescue newFor more information about PAW 2016, ask your local Territory Manager or contact Customer Services on 0800 8494 550

PAW Terms and Conditions: The deadline for sign- ups is Friday 6 May (one or two extra days will be given for postal forms/late arrivals). PAW packs will be delivered by the end of May. Discounted SENSITEST allergy test prices are only available to practices that have signed up to PAW and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. You will receive PAW discount stickers to attach onto your submission form which can be used until the 8th July 2016. Any submission forms without the PAW discount sticker will be charged at your standard rate. Please send a photo of your display, along with your practice details to in order to enter our competition for the best use of materials for a waiting room display. Photos to be received by Thursday 30 June to be eligible for the competition. The winner will be announced on our website and will receive a luxury hamper for their practice.