Allergy, pet

Other names: Pet allergy

DEFINITION

Pet allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins found in an animal's skin cells, saliva, or urine. Signs include sneezing, runny nose, and asthma symptoms. Most commonly associated with cats, dogs, rodents, and horses. Best strategy is to avoid or reduce exposure to the animal.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to foreign substances like pet dander. Cats and dogs shed allergens in skin cells, saliva, and urine. Rodents and rabbits also produce allergens in hair, dander, and saliva.

RISK FACTORS

Family history of allergies or asthma increases the likelihood of developing a pet allergy. Early exposure to pets may impact the risk of developing allergies.

COMPLICATIONS

Sinus infections and asthma exacerbations are common complications of pet allergies.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Write down symptoms, family history of allergies/asthma, medications taken, and questions for the doctor. Be prepared to discuss when symptoms started and any self-care techniques used.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Allergy skin tests or blood tests may be performed to determine specific allergens causing reactions.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Avoidance of allergens is key. Medications like antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants may be prescribed. Immunotherapy and nasal irrigation can also be effective treatments.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

If considering getting a pet, ensure you do not have pet allergies before bringing one home.


QUESTIONS

  1. What are common signs of pet allergy?

Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion

  1. Which animals are most commonly associated with pet allergies?

Cats, dogs, rodents, horses

  1. How can you reduce exposure to pet allergens?

Avoid or minimize contact with the animal

  1. What are potential complications of pet allergies?

Sinus infections and asthma exacerbations

  1. What are some risk factors for developing a pet allergy?

Family history of allergies or asthma

  1. What tests may be performed to diagnose a pet allergy?

Allergy skin tests or blood tests

  1. What medications are commonly used to treat pet allergies?

Antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants

  1. What is immunotherapy in the context of pet allergies?

Allergy shots that expose you to small doses of the allergen over time

  1. How can nasal irrigation help with pet allergies?

It can help flush out irritants from the sinuses using a saline rinse

  1. What lifestyle change should you consider before getting a pet if you suspect you have allergies?

Ensure you do not have pet allergies before bringing one home