Allergic to pets - Bio

Pets Provoke Severe Asthma!
This week, asthma specialists from Penn State Milton S. Hershey
University in the US revealed that in a study involving 809 asthma
sufferers, 72% of them suffered attacks when exposed to cats, 52% in
response to dustmite and 38% in the presence of a dog. In fact, virtually
every asthma sufferer were likely to have an asthma attack in the
presence of either a cat or a dog. Worse, although sensitivity to the dog
allergen Can f1 was less prevalent than the reaction to cat, the presence
of the dog allergen evoked the most severe depression in lung function.
Contrary to expectations, this study suggested that the dog hair and the
dog allergen, Can f1, is even more of a threat to those who are
susceptible to asthma than the cat allergen, Fel d1.
With over 6 million dogs and nearly 8 million cats in the UK not to mention 37 million small animals,
there is no question that the British are a nation of animal lovers! So what should the responsible pet
lovers do to prevent themselves or others from suffering the miseries of wheezing, sneezing, asthma or
even worse ---- perennial use of drugs or a trip to Accident and Emergency?
The Nature of the Allergy
Allergic diseases result from an exaggerated response of the immune system to external agents that the
body perceives as hostile. There are 2 types of allergic reactions to pets.
Type 1 are characterised by the production of immunoglobulins E (IgE), a type of antibody, to coat
certain cells called histamines. Histamine causes the blood vessels to dilate and release fluid into the
surrounding tissues. The classic symptoms of a Type 1 allergic reaction to pets --- the runny nose,
sneezing, wheezing and asthma when the fluid restricts the bronchiole area of the lungs. Type 4 allergies
include skin reactions to contact with cats, dogs, small animals or birds. The defence cells here called Tlymphocytes and macrophages react with the allergens releasing mediators which cause swelling and
itching --- the typical symptoms associated with hives, eczema and atopic dermatitis.
The Typical Symptoms
Immune system response:
Mediators released
The condition:
Allergic rhinitis
Running nose
Sore throat
Itchy, irritable eyes
Wheezing & breathing difficulties
Itchy rashes
Flaking dry skin
Weeping sores
The Agents that Cause the Allergic Reactions
Any animal with fur or feathers can cause the reaction but dogs and cats tend to evoke the most severe
response followed by male rabbits, guinea pigs & hamsters; birds & horses. Contrary to popular belief, it
is not the hair or the feathers per se that cause the problem so the reactions are equally prevalent with
breeds that do not shed their coats or moult.
The reactions are caused by potent allergens that come from the saliva, sweat glands, urine or droppings
of the pets. The microscopic allergens become airborne and the environment becomes polluted. Some of
the allergen airborne load does settle as dust on carpets and furnishings. However, this is only a small
part of the airborne load so vacuuming alone does not cleanse the environment sufficiently to relieve the
symptoms of the allergy sufferer.
The Causal Agents
Fel d1 from saliva &
sebaceous glands
Mites, mould & pollens
from feathers
Proteins from droppings
Can f1
from saliva,
dander & skin
Proteins from urine & saliva especially
from male rats, rabbits & mice
These microscopic allergens are not only found on the coat of the pet, they also become
airborne along with the dander and are therefore inhaled & ingested
Allergen production increases with age so kittens, puppies and young animals may be tolerated but
mature pets may not. This is perhaps the reason why Animal Rescue Centres reveal that 7.8% of all the
pets that they have to re-home are there because their owners become allergic to them and are advised
by their Doctors to get rid of the pet. The heartbreak for human and pet is very real and even if you do
not have a pet of your own, invariably many of your family & friends do and visits become a nightmare
especially with young children who cannot associate their symptoms with cuddling that cat!
Living in Harmony with Your Furry Friends
If you are considering having a pet for the first time then there are a number of simple precautions that
you can take. The first step --- an allergy test is recommended if your family have a history of asthma or
skin problems. There are 71 allergy centres in the UK and your GP can refer you for a simple test. If you
are one of the many that do not have a convenient centre then Home Testing Kits are available and may
be obtained from your local pharmacy or health shop. The British Allergy Foundation or the Campaign
for Asthma can advise you on approved testing kits and how to use them.
Secondly, choose carefully the pet that you have. A cat or dog may evoke an allergic response but a
female rabbit may not. The allergy test can reveal the extent of the reaction to the alternatives. In the
case of small animals, a female rat, rabbit, hamster, guinea pig or gerbil is less likely to cause allergic
reactions in a potentially asthmatic child than a male of the species.
Lastly and very importantly --- be prepared for the care a pet requires. Grooming the pet and cleaning
the pet environment are essential for the sake of the well-being of the animal and to minimise the risk of
allergic reactions caused by allergen build-up in the home.
Caring for Your Pet
Cats & Dogs
Brush at least
once a week
Wipe with an
Allergy UK
pet cleanser
once a week
Bathe no more than once
a month because it dries
the coat & can increase
the production of allergens
The Environment
Ventilate the home
after pet cleansing
Wash the pet bedding once
a week
Rabbits, Rats,
Hamsters & other
Small animals
Wipe with an
Allergy UK
pet cleanser
once a week
Clean the pet cage
once per week
Spray with a
Allergy UK
pet cleanser
once per week
Clean the cage
at least twice
per week
Pet Cleansers & How They Work
There have been a number of cleansers on the market in recent years but many have been dismissed by
medical professionals and allergy sufferers as ineffective. However, Bio-Life PetalCleanse is one that
has been independently tested by both Allergy Specialists and Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, the USA,
Germany, Benelux, Scandinavia, Israel and elsewhere across the globe. In trials carried out in the UK,
regular use by people who were allergic only to pets reduced the percentage who required medication
from 100% to zero over a 4 week period. People who suffered from multiple allergies i.e. dustmite,
pollen and pet required only 1.8 doses of medication per week at the end of the period as opposed to
3.02 doses at the start. The product is the only one in the UK to be awarded the British Allergy
Foundation (Allergy UK) “Consumer Care Award” for efficacy. Similarly, trials in the USA revealed
that product effectiveness was far superior to the alternatives on offer.
The product works by encapsulation. Cationic surfactants (negatively charged particles of carefully
selected detergents) encapsulate and neutralise the positively charged particles of allergen which come
from the saliva, sweatglands and urine of the pet. This prevents the allergens from coming into contact
with the skin or becoming airborne and being inhaled from the air. The product is very simple to use.
The owner brushes the pet to remove dead hair; pours 30 mls of the solution onto a cloth or a sponge
and wipes the pet with and against the hair and finally towel dries. Used once a week, every week, it is
sufficient to remove the allergens from the coat and most importantly prevents them from entering the
air. As for the pet, the lotion contains conditioners and natural extracts that gives the coat condition and
So the good news for the many millions of pet lovers in the UK who suffer from allergic reactions to
cats, dogs or indeed any other small pets such as rabbits, gerbils, rats, mice and birds ------ no you do
need to get rid of your pet ------- cleanse it and say goodbye to the wheezes, sneezes and itches!!
For further information, contact the Pet Allergy Helpline, 01608 686626 or visit the web-site