Intradermal testing (IDT) is one of the methods used to diagnose atopic dermatitis. IDT can also determine what allergens should be used for immunotherapy in dogs with dermatitis. Sedation is often necessary to minimize the stress that can cause endogenous steroid release; it also reduces risk for accidental subcutaneous injection of the allergen. This clinical study used 19 dogs with atopic dermatitis that either received intravenous propofol or 0.9% saline before IDT. IDT was done twice in each dog, once with sedation and once without. An investigator blinded to the treatments interpreted the IDT results. Positive IDT reactions occurred more often in dogs with propofol sedation than in the saline controls. However, the tendency for propofol to increase the IDT reactivity may not be as important as the beneficial effects of using this sedative.

COMMENTARY: Propofol is a short-acting noncumulative drug that allows for rapid induction and short-term sedation with a smooth recovery. Since sedation is often necessary when performing IDT, these characteristics make propofol a good choice, but the increase in IDT reactivity should be considered when evaluating patients for its use.

Effects of propofol-induced sedation on intradermal test reactions in dogs with atopic dermatitis. Graham LF, Torres SMF, Jessen CR, et al. VET DERMATOL 14:167-176, 2003.