Millions of dog and cat owners struggle with the love of their pets and the problems that allergic sensitivities to them can cause.
Pet allergy symptoms can include:
Although cats and dogs trigger the most allergic responses, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits are also popular pets. Mice used in research can also be an occupational exposure. Exposure to cattle, horses, chickens, hogs — especially in confined spaces — can cause respiratory and skin symptoms.
Testing for pet allergies is typically done by skin tests. Sometimes we use blood testing for IgE allergy antibodies to various animal danders.
We treat specific animal allergies with drops under the tongue by using the same extracts used for allergy shots. Most patients with animal allergies respond well to allergy drop treatment. The decision about whether people can keep their pets depends on the severity of reaction when exposed, but many are able to find a way to keep their furry family members and live without symptoms.
In most cases we can successfully treat the allergy with the animal in the home, though it often requires a longer course of treatment than if the animal is not in the home. Before getting an indoor pet, consider allergy testing. A mild to moderate animal allergy tends to respond more quickly if it is treated before the animal is brought into the home.