Management Options For Dog And Cat Allergic Patients
Current recommendations for controlling clinical symptoms caused by dog and cat allergens primarily includes avoidance to exposures. Bathing animals at least twice per week reduces allergens and can eliminate reactions. Immediate removal of the pet from the household will not alleviate symptoms particularly if the owner has carpeting in their home. Mammalian allergens are very stable and persist in house dust up to 6 months.
The treatment of dog and cat allergies with immunotherapy depends on reliable and consistent allergen extracts. Unlike cat allergen extracts, differences in the manufacturing of dog allergen extracts exist even today. In the United States, allergens are typically manufactured in an aqueous solution. In Europe, products used for SCIT are usually prepared with aluminum hydroxide which forms a complex with the active allergens and is thought to act as a depot thereby releasing the allergens more slowly. Without adequate standardization, the amounts of different specific protein allergens vary enormously, thus making assessment of therapeutic improvement impossible. Safety of SCIT is also an issue, if a patient is highly sensitive, different manufactured lots even from the same manufacturer with different amounts of component allergen proteins can lead to adverse reactions when those individuals are suddenly exposed to high levels.
What Causes Cat Allergy
Children with allergies have overly sensitive immune systems that mistake the protein from cat dander for something that will cause harm to their bodies. Your childs body attacks those proteins just as it would a bacteria or virus. In response, the body reacts with a wide variety of symptoms, including:
- Allergic shiners
- Itchy throat or roof of mouth
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Itchy rash if the cat scratched or licked the area
- Runny, stuffy or itchy nose
- Waking up in the night with nasal stuffiness, sneezing or coughing
These symptoms are usually noticeable immediately. If your childs allergy symptoms are present for more than two weeks and are not going away like a common cold or your child is having trouble breathing, then contact their doctor.
Purina Institute Cat Allergen Diet Study
The Swiss scientists arent the only ones to bring a cat de-allergenator to market: Purina Pro Plan LiveClear cat foods.
Purina has taken a different approach to tackling the Fel d1 protein. They are working to neutralize the allergen through a cats diet.
The company recently published a explaining how an egg product ingredient can be introduced to a cats diet to help neutralize the major cat allergen, Fel d1.
The concept is similar to the vaccine, with the goal being to decrease levels of active Fel d1 found in cat saliva.
While Purinas study did not yet incorporate humans allergic response rates, an encouraging 86% of cats saw at least a 30% reduction from the baseline Fel d1 levels.
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What About Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
Unfortunately, there is no breed of cat that is hypoallergenic, including those without much fur, like the Sphynx. That’s because the allergen isn’t the fur, it’s proteins in the saliva, urine, and skin.
Some breeds are widely accepted as being less likely to trigger allergies, so perhaps they naturally have less Fel D 1, but this hasn’t been confirmed scientifically. There is no breed of cat that can be counted on not to trigger a person’s cat allergies. As noted above, each individual cat varies as to how much Fel D 1 he produces, so a person who’s allergic might have more or fewer issues with some cats.
About Dr Joanna Woodnutt Mrcvs
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.
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Have Air Filter Will Travel
If you often visit friends or family with cats, but they don’t have a HEPA air purifier in the room where you’ll be staying, you may want to consider investing in a portable version.
air cleaners, says , can be a big help in removing unwanted allergenic particles from the air.
Small but powerful, HEPA air purifiers are available for under $200, and you can even use them to clean the air in your car.
“A HEPA filter is just great to have anyway,” said Waldron. “It’s good with pollen, it’s good for mold, it’s good for dust mite allergens.”
Are There Hypoallergenic Pets
All dogs and cats can cause allergy symptoms. People with dog or cat allergies may tolerate some breeds more than others. People may think those breeds are hypoallergenic, but a truly non-allergic dog or cat does not exist.
You can be allergic to the animals skin cells, urine, and/or saliva. These have different proteins your immune system may react to. Research is looking into if there is a way to change the proteins so that they dont trigger symptoms.
When choosing a pet, consider fostering one first to see if you have an allergic reaction. Another option is to choose pets that do not have fur or feathers. Fish, snakes, or turtles are some good choices.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Cat Allergy
Although the symptoms of a cat allergy may seem fairly obvious, it’s not always the cat that causes them. It’s a good idea to get confirmation from your doctor. After all, you wouldn’t want to blame Mr. Whiskers unjustly.
Your doctor can do a skin or test to see if you’re allergic. However, allergy tests aren’t always correct the doctor may also want you to try living without a cat for a few months to see how it affects your allergy symptoms.
Rid Your Home Of Other Allergens
If you’re considering bringing a new pet into your home, first rid your home of as many other allergens as possible, including mites, dust, and mold. Most airborne allergens cling to soft material such as curtains and drapes, upholstery, and floor coverings. Here are common ways to clear your home of allergens:
- Substitute blinds for window coverings. If you rent, and can’t get permission to switch them, keep the curtains washed and frequently vacuum the drapes.
- If possible, replace overstuffed upholstered furniture with leather.
- Eliminate decorative scented candles, potpourri, and plug-in air fresheners, all of which can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
- Consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with wood or tile floors. Otherwise, thoroughly vacuum carpeting regularly.
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What Is A Pet Allergy
The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology reports that almost 62% of all households in the U.S. have pets, with over 161 million of these pets being cats and dogs.
Animals without fur, like reptiles, amphibians and fish, do not shed dander so they have less of a chance of triggering an allergic reaction. But any mammal, like cats and dogs, as well as guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters, etc. shed dead skin cells called dander which is most likely to trigger an allergy.
Besides dander, people with pet allergies can also be allergic to the proteins that are present in pet saliva, urine and feces.
How Do I Know If I Have Cat Allergy
Cat allergy symptoms are very similar to those of hay fever and other common allergic reactions.
Cat allergy symptoms include:
- Inflamed or watery eyes.
- Itchy eyes, nose, or roof of the mouth.
There’s a chance you might also feel a tightness in your chest, experience shortness of breath, and could develop . Hives occur when your skin reacts to an allergen and becomes itchy with a raised rash.
If you suspect a cat allergy, you should take note of any symptoms and seek a diagnosis from your doctor, who can refer you to an allergy specialist.
Govind adds that, if you get really bad symptoms like wheezing, or you are struggling to breathe, you should treat these symptoms as a medical emergency and call 999.
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Where Are Pet Allergens Found
Cat and dog allergens are everywhere. Cat allergens are especially sticky. Pet allergens can be found in homes, classrooms, workplaces, and other places where pets have never been. This is because people can carry pet allergens on their clothing.
Pet allergens can collect on furniture and other surfaces. The allergens may cling to walls, fabric furniture, and clothing. They can stick to carpets, pillows, and other surfaces. They may remain at high levels for several months. Pet allergens can cause symptoms up to six months after the animal is gone, especially cat allergens.
Allergens can get into the air when you pet or groom an animal. Once allergens have settled, they can be stirred into the air again. This can happen during dusting, vacuuming, or other household activities. Once airborne, the particles can stay in the air for long periods.
Because animal allergens are everywhere, it can be challenging to manage your symptoms if you have a severe allergy.
Top 8 Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds
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What Causes Allergies To Cats
When most people have an allergic reaction to cats, they are usually responding to one allergen in particular known as Fel d 1.16,18 Fel d 1 is the major cat allergen, causing allergic reactions in up to 95 percent of cat allergen-sensitized individuals.9,16-18,22 It is primarily produced in the salivary and sebaceous glands of cats.1,3,6,7,9,22
These allergens are transferred to a cats hair and skin during grooming, which then can be dispersed on dander and hair around the home.6,7,16 House dust may contain high concentrations of the Fel d 1 allergen.19 Fel d 1 easily becomes airborne, and lingers in the environment it is also easily transported on clothing to other environments without cats .9,11,16 The allergic response begins when Fel d 1 binds with the immunoglobulin E in a sensitized person’s body and triggers the allergic response.
Scientists May Have Found Out How To Get Rid Of Cat Allergies
That sneezing, wheezing, congested, itchy eye, must-escape-this-room-because-I-cant-breathe-around-this-cat feeling can ruin even the best of daysespecially if you are a cat lover.
But now, you might be able to avoid the allergies altogether, instead of avoiding the furry feline.
You read that right. There have been some very promising scientific breakthroughs that can help alleviate the symptoms of cat allergies altogether. Breathing comfortably without red, itchy eyes could become the norm for allergy sufferers.
And we arent talking about allergy shots or desensitization therapy, either.
These new treatments for cat allergies arent for youtheyre actually administered to your cat. The goal is to help make them less likely to incite an inflammatory process in you.
Heres everything you need to know about the potential new cat allergy treatments.
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How Cat Allergies Develop
If you do suffer from cat allergies, you’re far from alone. In fact, people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than they are to dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. But how do people develop cat allergies in the first place?
Your immune system works every day to find and destroy foreign substances . Some people’s immune systems are more sensitive than others. The immune systems of cat allergy sufferers react to what are essentially harmless microscopic proteins that have been released by your cat in her dander , saliva and urine.
Many people believe pet hair is to blame, but pet hair alone is not an allergen. Hair can, however, collect pet dander and allow it to be distributed willy-nilly throughout your house when your cat sheds. It can collect on furniture, bedding and carpets, and can even last a long time simply suspended in the air.
Some people are lucky enough that they eventually develop an immunity to cat allergies. While this is certainly possible, allergic reactions may also worsen with more exposure. It’s also possible that someone who has never suffered an allergy to cats before can develop one. If you suddenly find yourself sneezing, wheezing or sniffling when you are around your cat, you might want to ask your doctor to test you for an allergy.
When You Get Home
Even after a short visit to a household with cats, you should wash your clothes in hot water to avoid bringing allergens into your home.
Pet allergens are easily spread, says the . They can circulate in air and remain on carpets and furniture for months. They can also be carried on clothing into areas where there are no pets.
“When I’m home, everything I’ve brought, I need to wash thoroughly,” said Waldron. The water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Molecular Based Allergen Testing
Molecular based diagnosis of allergies is an important advancement in improving sensitivity and specificity and will be needed to further define dog sensitization. Assessment of sensitization to allergen components can be done individually , or using an allergen microarray chip . To date, commercially available specific IgE components for dogs and for cats exists. Studies utilizing component resolved diagnosis in academic studies note that of those who were sensitized, only 64% of adults are Can f 1 IgE positive, with only 32% of those individuals mono-sensitized to Can f 1. This suggests that if crude allergen extracts are not sufficiently enrich for each of the other component dog allergen, clinicians may be falsely assuming these patients are not dog sensitized.
Living With Cat Allergies: Cleaning
Once you have a cat, diligence around the house is one of the keys to limiting allergies.
- Wipe down smooth surfaces in the home regularly. Microscopic dander can stick to any type of surface and is there even if you don’t see it.
- Use a vacuum with a filter and steam clean carpets often. Restricting the cat’s access to carpeted rooms will also help.
- Frequently wash any bedding or blankets that your cat sleeps on.
- Designate specific rooms, like the allergic person’s bedroom, as cat-free zones.
- Consider replacing upholstered furniture. Cloth-covered chairs and sofas can retain a lot of allergens and be difficult to clean. Either keep the cat off of upholstery or consider investing in wood, plastic or leather furniture that is easy to wipe clean.
- Take down your curtains. Like upholstered furniture, curtains can be a magnet for cat hair. Consider replacing them with blinds or other coverings that are easy to clean. If you decide to keep your curtains, launder them regularly.
- Invest in a HEPA filter. These can be attached to your furnace or air conditioner, or purify the air from a freestanding unit. Whatever model you get, their job is to reduce small particles in the air.
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Nothing To Sneeze At: New Strategies For Controlling Cat Allergy
When it comes to cat allergy, theres only one sure way to avoid symptoms stay away from cats. But many cat lovers with allergies would rather live with the sniffling, sneezing and wheezing than live without their beloved pet.
As I tell people with cat allergies, the treatment of choice is removal of the cat, says Dr. Michael Blaiss, executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology . Most people dont want to give up the cat. Usually, they will remove me as the doctor before they remove the cat.
Cat allergy is the most common animal allergy, affecting about one in five adults worldwide. Symptoms range from stuffy nose and itchy eyes, to hives, wheezing and asthma attacks.
Immunotherapy, often called allergy shots, can be effective in taming reactions in many people. But immunotherapy requires several years of injections, which many people dont want to do.
The good news is that researchers are on the hunt for new treatments and developing some promising new options. This article explores the novel therapies under study, including lab-created antibodies that help to halt allergic reactions in their tracks, and even a vaccine for kitty, designed to trim the amount of allergens that cats shed.
And some relief may be as near as your local pet store. In 2020, Nestlé Purina began selling cat food that neutralizes allergens in the cats saliva, a source of the protein that causes so much itchy, watery, wheezy misery.
Can I Become Immune To My Cat Allergy
You may feel that you are not allergic to your own cat, but others. You may find a similar experience with other cats that you spend more time with. Those of neighbors or family members, for example.
In these cases, your body has likely built a degree of resistance to the cats dander. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology explains how Fel d 1 is used as a treatment for cat allergies.
The glycoprotein is injected in small doses, steadily building immunity. After around a year of this therapy, immunity will be vastly improved. The allergy will still exist, but it will not cause such a reaction.
The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine explains how exposure therapy is especially effective for children. Fewer young people exposed to cats developed asthma, even with a family history.
Can I Get a Shot for Cat Allergies?
Immunotherapy shots can offer relief from cat allergies. Also, a Swiss pharmaceutical company named HypoPet AG is working on an allergy vaccine, dubbed HypoCat.
As explained by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, this shot is actually for cats. It will require 3 doses over 9 weeks. A booster will follow 6 months later. No side effects for the cat are anticipated. The shot will fill a cats body with antibodies that neutralize the effect of fel d 1. This will make dander completely harmless.
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