Pets are great fun. Apart from being fantastic companions, they also bring joy and entertainment to your entire family. However, you make an unpleasant discovery – you seem to be allergic to your new furry bundle of joy.
This is not uncommon at all actually. Approximately, 10 million people are allergic to pets! You can still have a pet with allergies; it all comes down to allergy management.
A pet allergy is any reaction that you have to the animal’s dander, skin, urine, or saliva. Most of the time it’s the dead skin cells that trigger the pet allergy.
While any pet can be a potential source of allergy, dogs and cats are the usual culprits. You can be exposed to the proteins via inhalation or direct skin contact.
As with most allergies, your immune system’s reaction to the animal protein and allergic reactions are triggered.
Pet allergies can exacerbate medical conditions like hives, rhinitis, eczema, and asthma. As such, pet allergies are definitely not to be taken lightly.
Talk to our doctor today!
A common misconception is that if you get a dog or cat with shorter hair, you might be able to escape the allergic symptoms. You may have also heard about hypoallergenic cats and dogs; these pets are said to not trigger allergic responses. However, the truth is no dog or cat is totally hypoallergenic. Even though they claim that they are minimal shedders, you still may come in contact with their skin cells, fur, and bodily fluids. A hypoallergenic pet does not exist!
Pet allergy symptoms may occur as soon as you have direct contact with a pet or even if you are in the same room with them. Other times, the allergic reaction is a bit delayed due to the animal’s fur on your clothing or on the furniture after it has left the room. Pet dander/shed particles may still be lingering in the air.
Pet allergy symptoms can be divided into two categories: skin-related symptoms and those that affect our nasal passages and lungs.
The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to minimize your pet allergy symptoms. You would be surprised how much difference these measures can make.
Since staying away from your pet is not really an option, you should definitely look into what treatments are best for you.
Your first step would be to schedule a consultation with your doctor. A proper diagnosis is required.
This is where your doctor will recommend testing. Pet allergies are usually diagnosed using 2 tests: An allergy skin test or blood test. The allergy skin test works by exposing you to animal protein and then observing you for an allergic reaction. The blood test looks for antibodies caused by allergens.
A more long-term solution is sublingual immunotherapy.
Sublingual immunotherapy is a treatment that works by introducing small doses of an allergen to increase tolerance and immunity. Eventually, allergic symptoms are significantly reduced.
The goal is to build an immunity where you are barely affected by your allergen.
This option is highly recommended for pet owners since you will have your pet around you for extended periods of time.
If you suspect that you may be allergic to your pet, we encourage you to schedule an appointment so that you can get the help you need and enjoy happy days with your pet!