Dogs and cats are among the most common pets, but in some cases they can cause allergies. This is determined by allergens produced by the salivary and sebaceous glands of the dog or cat, which are found on the saliva, hair, urine and dead skin scales of the animal.

As Professor Giorgio Walter Canonica, Head of the Centre for Personalized Medicine: Asthma and Allergology at Humanitas, explained in an interview: the symptoms with which this allergy manifests itself are above all respiratory disorders following the inhalation of allergens, which are dispersed in the home environment. The patient may suffer from allergic rhinitis with runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose and eyes, and watering of the eyes. In the most serious cases, asthmatic crises with respiratory difficulties can also occur.


What to do when symptoms appear?

“Skin prick tests and serum-specific IgE are the main tests indicated for animal allergy,” he said.

In case of allergy, the best choice would be to take or give your pet away to reduce exposure to allergens, but this is not always possible or desirable. Furthermore, separation from the animal does not lead to the immediate disappearance of symptoms because allergens remain in the environment in which the animal has lived for many years, especially in the case of cats.

“The advice is to limit contact with the animal as much as possible and thus to undertake targeted treatment”, recommends Prof. Canonica.


Allergy treatment

“To alleviate symptoms, antihistamines, nasal sprays with cortisone or with cortisone and antihistamines may be taken in the same formulation. Antihistamine eye drops are available for eye discomfort.

Targeted therapy is required in the event of asthma. As with other respiratory allergies, immunotherapy is possible, although the evidence for vaccine effectiveness against dogs and cats is still limited. This treatment, which is to be continued for a few years, aims to train the immune system to tolerate the substance that triggers allergy, to significantly reduce it or make it disappear altogether,” says Prof. Canonica.