Allergies to animals are common and very troublesome. Some people simply cannot give up their pets, their horseback riding, or their friends who have pets. And yet exposure to a dog or cat can cause a sensitive person quite a serious reaction. For such people, a combination of treatment and partial avoidance is the best approach. In some cases, the allergy is just too strong, and the pet must be placed in a new home.
Allergies to cats can be particularly severe. There are people who cannot be in a house or apartment where a cat has lived in the past year without developing burning eyes, sneezing, and even labored breathing.
Recent studies have shown that not only are cat hair and dander allergenic, but cat saliva contains a very potent allergen (and cats spend half their waking hours grooming themselves); the same allergen is found in the glands of the cat's skin, at the hair roots.
Almost all breeds of cats can cause a reaction in a cat-sensitive person. With dogs, however, sometimes one breed (not necessarily a long-haired breed) will bother a patient while another will not. Also, allergies to dogs occur less frequently. Dog allergen, incidentally, is in the dander, saliva, and urine.
The dander of cats and dogs can remain in a home, causing allergic symptoms long after the animal is gone, even years later. If you are taking allergy shots for sensitivity to an animal, do not stop the shots when you get rid of the animal. You will probably still need them for up to a year or more afterward.
(Back to Top)