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Questions About Dog Bites and Allergy Testing

March 13, 2012 by Rose Hoban in HOUSE Calls
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This week we respond to questions about dog bites and allergy testing.

Dear HOUSE Calls,

My dog bit my nephew and left a deep wound, but for some reason the doctor didn’t close it with stitches.  Why not?

Bites are a little bit confusing.  We particularly do not sew up human bites or cat bites because they tend to get infected and we don’t want to trap the infection in. Dog bites are sometimes sewn up and sometimes not, it depends on the severity and depth.  Doctors often don’t close a wound if it’s on the hand or foot, because they heal quickly.

Also, if bleeding stops quickly or easily, closing a wound is less important.  If you do get a dog or cat bit, be certain the animal has had a rabies vaccine and try to keep this from happening again.

Dear HOUSE Calls,

Do you believe in the ALCAT test and if it works?  I believe that I might have an allergy to gluten and wondered if this test would show true results?

Now that is a good question. This is a test for over 200 allergies and sensitivities. First off, this is an incredibly expensive test (over $1000 for some panels) for someone to purchase without medical guidance. It is being directly marketed to consumers based on poor quality research. Most of the ‘papers’ on the research section of the website are reports that have not been subjected to peer review, use very small samples, and have no comparison group.

If we test for enough allergens in a test tube, we will undoubtedly find some that you are sensitive to.  However, it is an entirely different question which ones are important to the way you feel and your overall health.  It is clear that food allergies are becoming quite popular and that popularity has something to do with the ease of testing, the profitability of testing, and popular notion of food allergies.

For example, gluten sensitivity used to be under diagnosed, but with the development of highly accurate blood tests, many more people can be tested quite accurately for celiac disease.  It is probably now over-diagnosed.

There was a recent ‘quack’ report about ALCAT testing.  The American Society for Allergies and Immunology have said that ALCAT is not a reliable test.  It is very important to talk to your doctor about symptoms and potential causes before going it on your own and buying this expensive panel of tests.

HOUSE Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Cristy Page, Dr. Adam Zolotor, and Dr. Adam Goldstein on behalf of YOUR HEALTH™ and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.

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Physicians from the UNC Department of Family Medicine’s YOUR HEALTH™ media bring you weekly information in response to your questions about health and medicine. Send us your questions or comments to

The HOUSE Calls staff:

Cristy Page Headshot Dr Cristy Page is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. A former Morehead scholar, Dr. Page completed degrees in Medicine, Public Health and Family Medicine at UNC. Dr. Page practices full scope family medicine including obstetrics, and she is recognized for important innovations in maternal health, preventive medicine and group well-child care.

Adam Goldstein Headshot Dr. Adam Goldstein is a Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. As a leading U.S. expert in primary care, Dr. Goldstein has a 20-year history in clinical practice, teaching, and research. He has published over 150 articles, essays, book chapters, and books.

Adam Zolotor Headshot Dr. Adam Zolotor is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.  Dr. Zolotor Completed his training at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina.  He has been in practice for 10 years and and is a nationaly recognized expert in child abuse and child injury prevention.  He directs the Department of Family Medicine maternal and child health services. He is the author of more than 50 articles and book chapters.

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