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An allergy to animals is known as a pet allergy. When you have a pet allergy, you are allergic to the proteins that are present in your pet’s skin cells, urine, or saliva. Symptoms of pet allergy include a runny nose and sneezing (typical symptoms of hay fever). Others may experience signs that are similar to asthma, such as difficulty breathing and wheezing.

Most cases of a pet allergy are caused by exposure to dander (dead skin flakes). All animals with fur are potential sources of pet allergy. However, pet allergies are commonly linked to dogs and cats.

If you are allergic to your pet, then your best bet is to minimize contact with or exposure to the animal. Medications may be necessary for symptom relief as well as management of asthma.

Causes

A person has allergies when their immune system reacts to mould, pollen, or pet dander.

The immune system produces antibodies. Antibodies are proteins. They protect your system from invaders that have the potential to cause sickness or infection. When you are allergic to something, your immune system identifies a particular substance (the allergen) as being harmful, when in the real sense it is not.

cat

When you make contact with the allergen or inhale it, your immune system will respond by producing an inflammatory response in your lungs or your nasal passages. Prolonged exposure to the allergen may cause chronic inflammation of the airway, a symptom linked with asthma.

Population studies in some parts of Australia have shown that allergy to cats, and to an extent, allergy to dogs is associated with asthma and airway hyperresponsiveness.

Risk factors

Allergy to pets is common. But then, your risk of developing an allergy is higher if your family has a history of asthma or allergies.

Exposure to pets at an early age may help an individual to avoid allergies from pets. 

dog pet allergy

Complications include asthma and sinus infections. Management of asthma symptoms is usually tricky. The individual may be at risk of attacks that requires urgent medical attention. 

Sinus infections refer to chronic inflammation of the nasal passages due to pet allergy. Sinus infections can obstruct the cavities that are linked to your nasal passages. These obstructions increase the risk of developing bacterial infections, as in the case of sinusitis.

Test for pet allergy

Here at Allergy Test Australia, we have allergy testing available to suit all budgets which will help you ascertain whether you have an allergy to your pets.