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 "Pet Allergy"

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Pet Allergy

When it comes to a pet allergy, man's best friends may often be his worst enemies.

Numerous times a day, individuals who end up being allergic to a favorite animal are concerned that they may be allergic to your pet.

Before you make the family pet the scapegoat for somebody's indoor allergies, (unless it's a cat because cat's are nothing more than evil pieces of fur) you must be sure not to wrongfully accuse an innocent pet.

Cat Allergy

Patients who have a cat allergy are allergic to the cat's saliva. However, typical allergic symptoms are not as a result of coming in direct contact with the cat's saliva. Instead, when the cat grooms itself by licking its fur and skin, it deposits its saliva on the fur. The saliva dries, leaving behind the protein antigen that is the source of allergy to cats. These allergens (cat saliva antigens) are very lightweight and are easily aerosolized. Once airborne, the antigen can spread to clothes, furniture, carpeting, or any other household item.

Dog Allergy

Patients allergic to dogs are allergic to the dog's saliva. As with cats, dogs groom themselves by licking their fur and skin, depositing dog saliva antigens that also become airborne when dry, and spread to clothes, furniture, carpeting, etc. Once dog allergy is confirmed, the best way to decrease allergy symptoms is to remove the dog from the home. As with cat allergy, you can also use medications and allergy immunization.

Rodent Allergy

Patients become allergic to rodents due to exposure to these animals in their daily work. The most common people at risk are veterinarians, laboratory technicians, and people who live in close quarters with rodents (such as pet owners and those who live in rodent-infested homes). Some examples of common rodents that humans come in contact with include mice, rats, and guinea pigs.

The rodent's urine has a high concentration of protein, which is the primary allergen to humans. The urine is often sprayed rather than deposited, thereby increasing human exposure. After the urine dries, the urinary proteins become airborne and are inhaled, leading to allergic symptoms.

Pet Allergy Answers

The medications used to treat animal allergy are similar to those used to treat other forms of allergy such as seasonal allergy and asthma. They include antihistamines, steroids, shots and asthma pills and sprays.

Allergy shot immunizations work basically by gradually building immunologic tolerance to the specific antigens you are allergic to. This process usually begins with weekly injections and gradually progresses to monthly injections that can be halted after three to five years of therapy with a good chance of maintaining your immunity to a particular antigen.

Although roaches and dust mites may not be your idea of pets, getting rid of these creatures may significantly improve your tolerance of the pets you love.

Drew Voight

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Food Allergy.Org
Nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing about a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding food allergies and providing helpful resources.

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