How Pets and Allergies Can Go Hand in Paw
Understanding pet allergies so you can your have your pet and live with it, too.
Managing Your Pet
All the doctors recommended bathing pets frequently, which in the case of
cats can be very entertaining. "Even a damp washcloth on the fur can
help," Mitchell says (towelettes are also available at pet stores for this
Keeping the animal's skin healthy with vitamin supplements can limit shedding of dander.
"I have had people saying they would shave their pet," Georgeson
says. "That might be helpful, but you will still get dander."
Counter to what you might think, the amount of dander an allergic person
breathes does not make the symptoms worse or better. "Dose has no
relevance," Johnson says. "Small animal, big animal, long fur, short
fur, it doesn't make a difference."
So much for the new designer dogs, such as labradoodles, although some
people swear they cut symptoms. One prominent vet has also advanced the theory
that female animals cause fewer allergies. This is open to debate.
"Our second approach," Georgeson says, "is to medicate the
patient with topical or inhaled corticosteroids, especially if he or she is
The third? "If all this fails, then there are shots," Georgeson
says. Often these must be given every week.
Mitchell, therefore, is enthusiastic about liquid drops absorbed in the
mouth that are being developed in Europe, although they are not approved for
use here. He says he is confident these will soon be on the scene. "They
are pretty exciting," he says.
"There is not a lot of peer-reviewed literature on the drops,"
Georgeson observes. "The shots can change an allergic person to a
"Shots," Johnson says, "are the mainstay."
1 Doctor's Story
"I am a cat and dog owner," Georgeson says. "I practice what I
preach -- the wood floors, the cleaning.
"My husband and I are not allergic, but many of our family members are,
and when they come here they have no symptoms. This stuff works."