All the facts about Cat allergy and dog allergy or pet allergy
Like everyone else you may like to play with your beloved cat or dog or a pet animal. After playing with them you may have some symptoms of allergy and it is called a pet allergy. Usually people who are allergic to pets may have allergies to multiple animals like cats or dogs.
These symptoms are annoying and looking at them your family members may be pressurizing you to abandon your dear pet animal.
Here we will discuss in detail about these pet allergies, so that it helps you to solve your queries and you will learn how to avoid these pet allergies.
What is Cat allergy and dog allergy?
They are simply forms of pet allergies. Like its name implies pet allergy is allergic to your dear pet animals.
Cats and dogs and other pet animals have hair that are shed in your house. These are made up of proteins that may cause allergy to you.
These proteins are released in air as allergen and when you breathe in they can get access to your respiratory tract.
Your immunity detects them as foreign antigens and it may react to these antigens or allergens. When your immunity reacts to them it releases various chemicals like histamine.
These chemicals give rise to various symptoms of allergy, you may experience when you come in contact with allergen.
Similarly allergic reactions can occur on skin when your skin comes in contact with your pet animals.
What are the symptoms of Cat allergy?
Well you already may have experienced the symptoms. The symptoms of cat or dog allergy or any other pet allergy are similar to a large extent.
These symptoms usually occur sometime after you play with a pet animal. They can occur in a few minutes to hours after exposure.
Let us discuss further these symptoms in the following paragraphs.
Cold like symptoms
Running nose usually watery discharge from nose is the main symptom that occur after exposure to pets.
Sneezing may occur with a runny nose and they may occur in bouts of multiple sneezing episodes.
In some people you may feel that your nose is stuffy and blocked and very uncomfortable.
There is an itchy sensation in the nose of people who are allergic to pets. It is associated with cold-like symptoms of runny, stuffy nose and sneezing.
There may be an itchy sensation in nose and mouth and palate and area of face around nose.
Some people with cat allergy and pet allergy may get a cough. This may be dry cough or sometimes productive cough which produces sputum.
You may feel that the cough is induced by the itchy sensation in the throat and nose.
Difficulty in breathing
If you have a severe allergy to cats and pets you may get difficulty breathing on exposure. There is a sensation of tightness of chest as if weight is kept on the chest.
This difficulty in breathing may come with cough and whistle like sound when you breathe. If it aggravates it may be life threatening and need immediate intervention.
When you play, hug and kiss your cat pet, you come in contact with allergens. In this case your skin comes in contact with allergen. You may get skin reactions like hives.
Hives are bumps on skin that are flat and look pinkish or red and there is an itchy and burning sensation in the area of the hives.
These hives may subside on their own after some time or in some people it may become larger and spread on skin on a large body surface area.
How to diagnose cat allergy?
Cat allergy or any dog or pet allergy is simple to diagnose depending on occurrence of the symptoms.
Your doctors notes:
- Frequency of the symptoms
- Severity of the symptoms
- Repeatability of occurrence after exposure to allergen
- How did those symptoms disappear in previous episodes?
- Any family members with similar symptoms
- Any other allergies if there.
Skin prick test
Your doctor further evaluates you using a skin prick test. This test is done to diagnose the allergies. For this test your doctor takes suspected antigens and keeps them on skin and pricks with a very small needle or instrument like that.
Your doctor observes you for 20 – 40 minutes for development of the symptoms where injection was given or any other systemic symptoms. This helps to identify the allergen.
Other tests like IgE levels may not be that useful for detecting pet allergies and need clinical correlation with the condition.
What is treatment for pet allergy?
Acute treatment depends upon the severity of symptoms. For mild symptoms you can wait and watch ifd symptoms subside on their own.
For the symptoms that do not subside on their own you should take your doctor’s opinion and he/she may prescribe you following medicines.
This is a class of drugs that acts against histamine. Histamine is one of the major chemicals that induce the symptoms of allergy.
These medicines can be given orally or by injection depending on severity of the conditions.
Some of the examples are hydroxyzine, promethazine, loratadine, fexofenadine, cetirizine and levocetirizine.
Older antihistamines cause sedation as a side effect. Newer generations of antihistamines cause less sedation in people.
Depending on severity of the condition your doctor can prescribe it orally or by injection to the patients. They act in few minutes and can reverse the allergic symptoms.
These medications should be used only after consultation to your doctor.
If the symptoms are very severe and life threatening only effective medicine which can save your life.
You can take this medicine by injection as an epinephrine auto injector. If you have a tendency of severe allergic and cholinergic urticaria you should carry this ‘Epipen’ with you.
For severe reactions this injection works in minutes to save the life.
If you get such severe reactions you should take help of an allergist as soon as possible.
How to prevent Pet allergy?
Currently there is no effective medicine to prevent cat allergy or pet allergy.
Only effective way of preventing pet allergies is avoiding contact with pet animals.
Keeping animals away from the house is the best way of preventing the pet and cat allergies. This may sound very harsh as you love your pets but it is a fact which is hard to accept.
Following are some ways that may help to reduce the allergen in your environment but it may not completely help to avoid allergies:
- Keep your cat and pets away from the bedroom. Do not allow them to enter the bedrooms.
- Keep your cat or pets in one room of the house and restrict their entry to other rooms.
- Give your cat and pet dog bath at least once a week, this may reduce allergens to some extent.
- Wash your hands after playing with your dear pet cat or dog. It helps to reduce the cat allergy or dog allergy.
If you cannot avoid contact with pet animals you should consider visiting an allergist and ask for desensitization therapy. Currently desensitization therapy is useful only for severe life threatening allergies.
Facts about hypoallergenic cat or hypoallergenic dog
Hypoallergenic cats or dogs are the breeds that can cause less allergy or no allergy in people who are allergic to them.
Recent studies indicate that animals labelled as hypoallergenic cats or dogs species have similar allergens. They are not hypoallergenic and they can cause similar incidences of allergies in people suffering from cat or dog allergy.