Cats and dogs are pets that frequently cause allergies, they can produce:
1. respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose, shortness of breath or wheezing (rhinitis or asthma).
2. ocular symptoms such as redness, itching and tearing (conjunctivitis), and
3. skin symptoms as itching and redness (pruritus and erythema).
All animals with hair or feathers can cause allergies: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, horses, rats, mice, cows, birds, or even scaled animals such as reptiles.
The prevalence of allergy to exotic animals has increased in recent years, for example: rodents (mouse, guinea pig and gerbils) mammals (ferrets and monkeys) reptiles (snakes and iguanas) exotic birds (parrot and cockatoos).
Where are allergens found in animals?
Animal allergens are found in: dander, saliva, urine, hair or feathers. Dandruff is the desquamated epithelium of animals, it constantly detaches and remains floating in the air, while hair tends to fall, which is why it is more common to find it on the floor or on the surfaces of furniture (sofa, shelves, bed). , etc.). It is for this reason that the main cause of animal allergy symptoms is the dander that is floating in the environment where the pet resides, rather than the hair itself. The short-haired or hairless animal is falsely considered “non-allergenic.”
The removal of the animal is not a short-term solution, the allergen (especially dander or hair) can persist in the home for weeks or months. It is for this reason that people allergic to animals can present symptoms when they are in environments where pets live, even if they are not present at that time.
Who may have an allergy to animals?
Sensitization to animals occurs through continuous exposure living with the pet, but also in professionals such as veterinarians or people who work in research with animals.
Is there treatment?
Yes, the first thing we advise is the avoidance of the allergenic source, that is, contact with the animal. There are also treatments such as specific immunotherapy (allergy shot) to cats, dogs and horses.
If you have any respiratory, ocular or skin symptoms when you are in contact with an animal you should go to your Allergy Specialist to carry out the pertinent study and assess which is the best treatment to control your symptoms or if you can benefit from an “allergy shot”.
Allergy to cats
Within the allergy to pets is one of the most frequent. Symptoms can be nasal (rhinitis), bronchial (asthma), ocular (conjunctivitis), cutaneous (itching) or coexist several symptoms at once. The onset of symptoms can occur due to direct (and close) contact with the pet, such as living in the same home or exposure to an environment where pets reside. In this case, if sensitization is high (“very allergic”) symptoms may occur within minutes, even if the pet is notpresent. Symptoms can also be caused by indirect contact, such as contact with clothing that can carry allergens (dandruff, hair or secretions). This is very common in winter and shared work environments or classrooms where warm clothes carry dandruff or hair and thus expose other colleagues to these allergens.
Up to 8 allergens have been identified in the cat, the most important and majority is Fel d1. This allergen is excreted by the sebaceous glands and accumulates in the skin and dandruff. It can be found in smaller amounts in saliva, lacrimal and perianal glands. Male cats have higher levels of Fel d1 than females.
Allergy to dogs
Like the cat, dog allergy is a common allergy. 6 allergens have been identified, which are found in dandruff, urine and saliva, the majority being Can f1 and Can f5. Male dogs have more Can f5 than females. As a curiosity this allergen presents cross-reactivity with the human prostate antigen, so it has been involved as a cause of allergy to human semen in sexual relations of women previously sensitized to dog.
To this day there is not enough data to apply the name “hypoallergenic” to any breed of dog.