A pleasing message

Ett glädjande besked

Everyone knows by now what a great benefit dogs are in various contexts. Not just traditional service dogs that work in the police, customs and the like; so-called social service dogs are becoming more and more common in our society.

Image: Reading dog Agnes and Simon Haraldsson von Essen

Zigge and Agnes are both trained visiting and therapy dogs and work together with mother Lena Johnsson, who is employed by Uppsala Municipality, Culture and Leisure. Agnes is a certified reading dog, a further education that takes at least eight months, and currently works in a library. Previously, she also worked at the school with some fourth graders who needed extra support in training to read.
- There is a big difference in the children after they start reading to Agnes, says Lena Johnsson. In addition to reading aloud itself going better, several of them are also more motivated in their other school work.

Problems with different types of allergies can put a damper on activities that include animals. Lena Johnsson, who herself has allergic asthma, has experience of the easiest way to quell anxiety - and reduce the risk of the dogs spreading allergens at school - and the specially made cart that Agnes rides in through school makes it easier.

Then Lena heard about Medi-Tec and the possibilities of testing how hypoallergenic, or allergenic, a dog is.
- Well, you know that there are no "allergenic breeds", says Lena, but the differences exist between individuals. But this was a good way to find out how it really is.

Lena Johnson and Agnes

So far, no one has reacted to the dogs, but Lena thought it was good to test anyway to get the facts in case someone asked. Lena sent for the test kit, tested Agnes and sent in the samples. How complicated was it?
- No, not difficult at all. What took the longest was reading through the information on how to do it, laughs Lena. Agnes is used to being handled and fussed over.

When the results came, after a few weeks of waiting, it was a very positive response that Lena received.
- I think it is particularly important to know how Agnes is doing, says Lena. She works a lot indoors. Zigge has his assignments outdoors, mainly with children and young people with various types of disabilities, both physical and mental, but now I'm going to test him too.

Agnes showed low levels in all samples, except for one of the saliva samples. At Medi-Tec, the answer is that that specific allergen is unusual for someone to react to, and the reason may also be that she had an ulcer in her mouth at the time of the sample collection.
- It was definitely like that, laughs Lena. She is so happy and bubbly and when she is really happy she looks for a stick which she immediately "butchers"...

Lena has several dogs, all of the border terrier breed. She says she chose the breed for several reasons. Dogs with trimmed fur are easy to care for, it is a large dog in a small format, social and loves people, and we share the hunting interest in the forest and land. The smallbeards, as she calls them, are currently four in number and if her third dog, Myrra, is approved during testing at the Therapy Dog Institute, she will also be tested.
- My dogs do so much good, says Lena in her sounding Gotland, and I get so many positive reactions from the children and their parents. And now it feels even better when I know that the risk of Agnes provoking an allergic reaction is minimal. It will be exciting and interesting to see how it is with my other little beards!

For Medi-Tec, this is gratifying for several reasons. Partly because dogs can now be tested and partly because more and more dog owners choose to test their dogs, which provides a wider material to research further on.
- So good that Lena Johnsson feels that she benefits from the positive result. If she - and other dog owners - want to protect themselves further, we recommend our special shampoo for a more hypoallergenic dog, says Anna Whiteman, biomedical analyst and fur specialist.

Agnes and Zigge

Facts Allergenius test
Allergenius® Dog is the world's first individual allergen test. Allergens are a collective name for the substances that trigger a reaction in those who are allergic to, for example, dogs. Allergy tests identify whether you suffer from a fur allergy. Allergen test measures the allergens that your dog secretes. The test kit costs SEK 395 and consists of three different tests: fur samples from the neck and groin and saliva samples. The samples are sent to the laboratory free of postage and the dog owner registers on the Allergenius website where a research questionnaire can be filled in. It is voluntary but as it is of great help to the research, we hope that the dog owners will take the time to answer the questions.

Facts Allergenius Special Shampoo
The shampoo, which contains an effective combination of modern skin and fur care ingredients, reduces the amount of allergens on the dog. The shampoo strengthens the skin and reduces the occurrence of allergens, scaly skin and dandruff. You can find Allergenius Dog® Special Shampoo in zoo specialist stores and in our webshop .

Text and photo: Lena Heimlén