People might assume that they are allergic to animal fur or hair, whereas it is actually the allergens carried by the fur that they are reacting to. People with animal allergies have developed a sensitivity to harmless proteins in the pet’s saliva, dead skin cells or urine, or the fur may carry other allergens such as pollen.
Symptoms of an animal allergy include a blocked or itchy nose, sneezing, an itchy throat, coughing and asthma, a rash on the face or chest, and red, swollen, itchy and watery eyes.
Sometimes treatment is as simple as avoiding the source of the allergy, but this may not be possible if the source is a beloved pet, or if exposure is part of your occupation, as in the case of veterinarians. In this case, strategies for tackling the allergy include taking measures to minimize contact, and medications or Immunotherapy. Our specialists will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
What is a Pet Allergy?
Patients who have allergic reactions to dogs and cats are most probably having an allergic reaction to the animals’ saliva. When an animal grooms itself, it deposits its saliva on its fur. The saliva dries but the proteins that trigger reactions remain, causing allergy symptoms including itchy, red eyes, sneezing, a runny nose, and coughing. The saliva antigens are light-weight and therefore become airborne very easily. The particles also remain suspended in the air for long periods. They spread to clothing, carpeting, and other household items easily, and as a result, even houses without pets can have animal allergens.
Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies. While there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet, allergies to dogs occur less frequently than allergies to cats because:
- Dogs are regularly washed by their owners
- Cats often spend a lot of time indoors, while dogs are kept outdoors
- Owners are less likely to let dogs lie on the furniture or sleep on the bed
What are Horse Allergies?
The most common allergen from horses is in their dander, or dead skin cells. These can easily become airborne and spread over significant distances. There is also evidence that some people with dog or cat allergies may be predisposed to being allergic to horses. An allergy test will be able to determine the extent of your allergy. Common symptoms include allergic rhinitis and asthma.