It is estimated Britain's dogs population is 8.3m and cat population is 8.6m.

The most common pet allergies are cat allergies and dog allergies.

Contrary to common belief, a protein in the saliva and dander of pets, not their hair, is what produces allergic reactions in humans. A glycoprotein, Fel d1, secreted by the sebaceous glands, is the major cat allergen. This allergen is found in the fur, pelt, saliva, serum, urine, mucus, salivary glands, and hair roots. The main sources of the allergen, however, are the skin and saliva.

Cat and dog allergen may remain airborne for long periods of time; this is because it is smaller than pollen or dust particles. They can adhere to walls, clothing, carpets, furniture, and heating and cooling ducts.

Although work is underway to create hypoallergenic cats and dogs, there are no standard cats or dogs which are hypoallergenic, although some have less dander, which may be suitable for some people.

Symptoms of pet allergy

Pet allergies may cause a variety of symptoms including:

  • itching, running or congestion of the nose
  • red, itchy, watery, or swollen eyes
  • plugged or itchy ears
  • the throat may have post-nasal drip, frequent throat clearing, itching and hoarseness
  • coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and frequent bronchitis
  • itchy skin rashes or hives

Most people who suffer from pet allergies often have other mild or moderate allergies to pollens, moulds, feathers and dust.

Treatment of pet allergy

Breakspear Medical specialises in the treatment of allergy, intolerance and sensitivity by using the proven system of allergy management called low-dose immunotherapy (LDI, also known as provocation/neutralisation), together with a nutritional supplement programme. Breakspear Medical’s allergy treatment programme varies greatly from traditional treatments for pet allergies which have involved the use of antihistamines, steroids and decongestants. Antihistamines often cause drowsiness and many rarely do more than modify the symptoms and decongestants often need to be taken with increasing frequency, in increasing dosage.

After a consultation with a doctor, pet allergy patients will also receive:

  • a booklet with information about pet allergies, tips on how to change your environment and diet to improve your condition, and a listing of the allergens for which you will be tested including such items as histamine, various moulds and pollens
  • recommendations for a nutritional supplement programme to strengthen your immune system

Good nutrition is important because some foods can exacerbate symptoms; some people are helped by avoiding wheat and histamine-containing and histamine-releasing foods, such as cheese, strawberries, pork and shellfish.

Understanding the Load Phenomenon may also be helpful.

Costs

Breakspear Medical treats each patient individually, which means that there is no standard treatment programme for all pet allergies at a set price.  After your first appointment, you will be given a detailed estimate, with your recommended treatment programme in detail with all the costs, which will be explained to you by your Patient Liaison Officer.

On the day of your appointment or anytime afterward, if you have any specific questions regarding prices, estimates and treatment programmes, please contact a Patient Liaison Officer, by phone 01442 261 333 ext 293, or email: liaison@breakspearmedical.com

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