What kind of cat is good for allergies
If you already know you own allergy symptoms or desire to make certain you or your kid will not develop symptoms from a specific pet, consider spending time with someone that has the pet you wish to get before purchasing.
Alternatively, consider animals that typically do not cause or worsen allergies like:
- Aquarium fish
- Hermit crabs
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The Fel d1 protein (yellow) bound by IgY antibodies (blue). (Photo courtesy of the Purina Institute.)
Feeding cats a diet coated in a specially formulated egg powder product can neutralize the feline allergens that trigger symptoms in people, Purina scientists announced recently.
In a conversation with dvm360, researchers explained that the major feline antigen present in cats' saliva is a protein called Fel d1, and while scientists don't know exactly what the protein does for the cat, they do know it's responsible for 95% of cat allergies in people-and that one in five people are allergic to cats.
Every cats, even those that are hairless, produce Fel d1, although levels vary from cat to cat and in the same cat over the course of a year.
Here's what happens: When a cat grooms, it transfers Fel d1 from its saliva and sebaceous glands to its fur. The antigen then spreads into the environment attached to shed hair and dander.
It's known to be fairly “sticky,” Purina folks tell, clinging with a vengeance to blankets, carpet and curtains in the home and even making its way into public places.
When a sensitive person comes into contact with Fel d1, the allergen binds with IgE molecules in the immune system, triggering mast cell degranulation and an immune response-the distress of sneezing, itching, watery eyes and so on. Cat owners who talk to their doctors about these symptoms often hear that the best remedy is to get rid of the cat; in fact, 18% of cats that finish up in shelters are relinquished because of allergies, Purina representatives tell.
Other allergy-control options include antihistamines, immunotherapy, meticulous cleaning, confinement of the cat to a limited area or some combination of the above. The problem: None of these solutions are especially appealing or foolproof.
Enter this new study by Purina. In a decade-long research effort recently published in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease, scientists found that the IgY molecule present in egg yolk (an antibody passed from hens to their chicks) can block specific sites on the Fel d1 molecule, keeping it from binding with IgE and thereby neutralizing the allergen.
When cats were fed a diet coated with a specially formulated egg powder product containing IgY, 97% of cats showed decreased levels of athletic Fel d1 on their hair and dander compared with baseline. On average, there was a 47% reduction of athletic Fel d1 on cats' hair after three weeks of feeding the diet, with a range of 33% to 71% reduction.
Purina scientists report that there was no difference in health parameters between the control cats and the cats eating the special diet, which seems to indicate that the product is safe for cats to consume.
They also emphasize that the egg product does not suppress or destroy Fel d1-that protein may frolic an significant role in cats' physiology. Rather, the product neutralizes its allergenic effects, which means there's a greater chance that allergen levels in the environment will stay under the threshold that would trigger symptoms in people.
“These allergens own created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats,” says immunologist Ebenezer Satyaraj, PhD, director of molecular nutrition at Purina and lead investigator on the research.
“Our discovery has the potential to convert how people manage cat allergens.”
More results from the research will be shared by the Purina Institute, an organization that serves as the global voice of Purina's scientific communications, as they become available.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually develop within a few minutes of being exposed to something you’re allergic to, although occasionally they can develop gradually over a few hours.
Although allergic reactions can be a nuisance and hamper your normal activities, most are mild.
Very occasionally, a severe reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.
Symptoms of a Pet Allergy
You are likely to experience these symptoms if animal dander gets to your lungs. However, you need to be aware of other symptoms too. For example, you might only experience allergic-type symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. Likewise, you might experience a scratchy throat or watery, itchy eyes.
Finally, if you get scratched you might experience redness on the impacted area or symptoms on an area you self-inoculate (if you touch the area that was scratched or licked and rub it with a hand and then touch your hand to your nose or eyes).
If you are not terribly sensitive or you are not exposed to large amounts of dander, your reaction could happen days later making it more hard to link the pet exposure to symptoms.
Main allergy symptoms
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
- a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
- swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
- wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
- itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- dry, red and cracked skin
The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.
For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.
See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.
Read more about diagnosing allergies.
Any Pet With Fur Carries Pet Dander Around the Home
Pets every shed a certain quantity of allergen-producing dander per week. In this sense, there are no hypoallergenic pets but some produce less allergen than others and may be a better choice if you really desire a pet.
Any pet with fur carries pet dander around your home and on you if they hop in your lap. Interestingly, it is a myth that it's the fur of animals that leads to the problems asthmatics experience.
Just the same, long-haired animals may be more likely to collect and carry dander compared to animals with shorter hair.
According to the American Lung Association, while dogs are more common in homes compared to cats (32% versus 27%), cat allergies are reported twice as often than dog allergies.
The best treatment is to avoid exposure altogether. This, however, is not always optimal or possible. If your best friend has an animal you are allergic to, it just may not be possible to avoid exposure. This can be especially concerning for kids who cannot participate in certain activities resulting in social stigma or unhappiness because they are diverse.
You may desire to talk with your doctor about medicines you might be capable to take beforehand for planned exposures.
What Animal Dander Is
While it is commonly thought that it is the hair from pets that causes the allergic cascade leading to asthma symptoms and short-haired animals are less allergic for asthmatics, both are myths. In fact, it is dander or the proteins in skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair that trigger your asthma symptoms.
These proteins are extremely little particles that are carried through the air and can come to land on a body part that comes into contact with your nose or mouth (like your finger) or the particles can be directly inhaled into the lung. You may notice symptoms immediately or may not develop them for 8 to 12 hours.
How to Decrease Exposure
Removing your pet from the home and avoiding contact with the pet is the most effective way to decrease exposure to animal dander.
A "trial removal" is not recommended as it may take as numerous as 20 weeks following removal for allergen levels to drop to levels similar to those of homes without pets.
If you do remove the pet from the home, make certain you thoroughly clean every bedding products, floors, carpets and other surfaces where dander may collect.
If pet removal is going to produce depression, crying and gnashing of teeth for you or your kid, making the pet an "outside only" animal is a partial solution, but will not fully decrease your exposure to animal dander. If that is also too restrictive, consider the following suggestions:
- Change clothes after prolonged playing or exposure to your pet.
- HEPA clean air filters may reduce your allergen exposure. You may also desire to consider a HEPA filter specifically for the bedroom.
- Unfortunately, frequent vacuuming does not decrease dander exposure, but using a HEPA vacuum filter or double bag may decrease exposure if you must vacuum. If you are the impacted individual, wear a dust mask while vacuuming.
- Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys as much as possible.
- Remove wall to wall carpet if possible.
Consider hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring as these products do not retain allergens love carpeting. If removing carpet is not an option, steam clean frequently. Remove the animal's favorite furniture as this is a haven for dander.
- Consider bathing the animal weekly to reduce allergen exposure, but realize this may increase dander exposure if the allergic person is doing the washing.
- Do not own the allergic person clean the animal's cage, living space, or litter box.
- Keep the pet out of bedrooms and other places where you or your kid spends a lot of time.
You spend as much as a third of your life in the bedroom and this will decrease exposure significantly.
- Talk to your doctor about allergy shots or immunotherapy.