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updated 5/10/01
Tender Loving Care is the name
of the game for NCDL Dogs
- York based allergy testing company
sets poorly pooches on the road to recovery

It's not only humans that suffer from allergies, but dogs too and to help the National Canine Defence League improve the health of some of its canine sufferers the charity has teamed up with York based Pet Allergy Testing company TLC.

So far TLC have tested five NCDL dogs for conditions including vomiting, loss of appetite, skin irritations and weight problems. Because these symptoms are not uncommon in canines, it has to be established where a dog is suffering from an allergy. To do this, the NCDL vet simply takes a small sample of blood which is sent to the TLC laboratory for testing.

One of the dogs whose life has been radically improved by the testing is Ozzie, a former resident of the NCDL's Snetterton Rehoming Centre in Norfolk. When Ozzie, a Boxer dog, came in to NCDL care he was very poorly indeed before it was discovered that he was suffering from a severe food allergy. However, after the testing established which food he should avoid, his health and general well being have dramatically improved.

Ozzie's owner Fay Durrant, a canine carer at NCDL Snetterton, said: "Before Ozzie had his allergy test he was very underweight, his skin was in poor condition and his belly inflamed. However, after TLC established which foods he was allergic to his symptoms dropped away almost immediately - in fact you wouldn't know he suffers from an allergy at all. Today he's a different animal from the shy, nervous dog he used to be. He's now more confident and much happier".

With an allergy, even if a dog is fed a balanced diet, if he is allergic to one specific component he can become very ill indeed. So far, TLC have tested well over 2,500 blood samples since the service began in February last year. Although the facility is currently only available for dogs the laboratory is also looking to provide testing for horses and cat as well.Allergy testing for four out of the five NCDL dogs took place at the Avon Lodge Veterinary Practice. Vet Simon Crowther said: "We are delighted to be able to help the National Canine Defence League by offering the TLC allergy test. Through using the test, we were able to get to the root of the problem and three of the four dogs have now been rehomed".

Anyone wishing to know more about the NCDL can call on 0207 837 0006. For details on TLC ring 0800 169 1958.