Can you be allergic to cats and not dogs?

allergique aux chat et chien

In Canada, there are an estimated 8.2 million domestic dogs and 8.3 million domestic cats, and this trend is growing.

That's an incredible amount of pet fur, skin and dander in our homes. This is a problem for people allergic to cats or dogs. But can you be allergic to one and not the other? Is it possible to be allergic to dogs and live in a house full of cats?

What causes allergies?

Pet allergy, like all allergies, is caused by a confused immune system. It's a terrible case of mistaken identity. The body is exposed to harmless pieces of protein from the environment. Instead of recognizing these proteins as innocent, the immune system mistakenly identifies them as germs and creates antibodies to attack them.

Just as the body creates antibodies following exposure to a disease (such as measles), it creates antibodies in response to this protein. These antibodies are called human immunoglobulin E, or IgE for short. In the case of germs, this means that the body is ready for war at the next exposure. Unfortunately for the allergic person, the body goes to war with every exposure to harmless proteins.

In other words, every time you're exposed to the protein, the body thinks it has to fight a germ. That's why allergies can cause the same sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, coughing and itchy, watery eyes that accompany a cold. Allergies also cause inflammation. This inflammation can also lead to eczema, inner ear fluid and even asthma.

Causes of pet allergy

Pet allergy is caused by proteins produced by fur-bearing animals. In cats, the main allergenic protein is Fel d 1. Cats produce this protein in their saliva and sebaceous glands. The glands cover their skin with this protein. The skin protein spreads to their fur. The protein is also found in urine. Cats also produce albumin, a protein commonly found in eggs and blood. Allergy to this protein is not as common.

Dogs produce Can f 1 in their saliva. This is the protein that causes allergic reactions in humans. Unlike cats, dogs do not produce the problem protein in their skin. However, when dogs lick their skin or fur, they spread the protein from their saliva to their fur. As a result, both skin and fur end up coated with the protein.

As you can see, the proteins are totally different, but the problem is the same.

Is it possible to be allergic to cats and not dogs?

Yes, it is possible to be allergic to cats and not to dogs. You can be allergic to dogs and not to cats. However, the proteins are similar. If you're allergic to one furry mammal, you're probably allergic to most of the others.

People allergic to cats and dogs don't realize that they're probably also allergic to horses, goats and rabbits. Most Americans are not exposed to these animals on a regular basis and therefore haven't had the opportunity to create the antibody.

As each animal produces different amounts of this protein, you may have a terrible allergic reaction to one cat but not to another. In another situation, you may be mildly allergic to a dog that produces a small amount of protein, but react strongly to a cat that produces more.

Remember that cats have the protein in their saliva and on their skin. Since cats spend almost 30% of their time grooming, they strive to spread the protein in their saliva over as much of their body as possible. This is why cats seem to be more allergenic than dogs. They simply produce more of the problem protein and spend a lot of time spreading it around.

Never be convinced by the claim that a cat or dog is hypoallergenic. If the animal is alive, it produces the allergenic protein in its saliva. In the case of cats, their glands are also producing it.

How do pet allergens spread?

Both cat and dog allergens leave the animal and become airborne. Once airborne, it's either inhaled or stuck to the first surface it touches. This could be a wall, a chair, a lamp, or even the owner's shirt or skin. Whatever it touches, as soon as it's disturbed, it's back in the air.

As long as the protein is in the air, there's a chance you'll inhale it. Inhaling the allergen triggers the allergic reaction.

If a dog licks you, you receive a direct dose of the allergen. What's more, dried saliva can flake off pet toys and beds and become airborne. Airborne allergen can stick to anything.

Cat allergen can be found in hospitals, airplanes and other places where you wouldn't expect to find it. In fact, cat owners wear a layer of this allergen on their clothes, skin and hair. Cat owners drop this allergen wherever they go.

Dog owners do the same, but because dogs don't produce the same amount of allergen, dog owners don't spread it around as much.

Can you live with pets and an animal allergy?

Depending on your degree of sensitivity and the amount of allergens produced by your pet, it's possible to live with pets and pet allergies. Studies have shown that infants exposed to animals have a stronger immune system.

Living with pets and pet allergies means staying on the lookout for allergens.

Use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter filter and clean frequently. Keep pets out of the bedroom. Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter filter air purifier of the right size for the room is another way of removing as many allergens as possible from the air. Groom your pets with Allerpet solution for cats or dogs. If you have carpets, spray them regularly with a protein-neutralizing solution. The Protech Allergies spray spray is inexpensive and effective.

It's possible to live with dogs and be allergic to cats, and vice versa. Our daughter is allergic to cats and has had them all her life. In any case, if you have pets and are allergic, you need to learn how to reduce allergen levels.

Wishing you the best of health!

The Protech Allergies team

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