Allergy to furry animals


Target Audience: Those with allergy to pet fur

Summary: This article reports on results from an expert workshop on  allergy to furry animals and discusses the role of molecular blood tests to aid in diagnosing this condition.

Article Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Published Date: March 2015

Article Link: Science Direct


In Western societies people spend 90% of their lives in indoors, as such it is not surprising that allergy to “indoor allergens” such as pet fur is on the increase. Between 10-30% of people have been shown to be sensitised to cat and/or dog .The primary source of cat and dog allergens is dander coming off the skin, whereas for mice and rat allergy, urine is thought to be a more important source.

For many years, it was assumed that living in a house with a cat increased the risk of allergy, however many reports have now shown that children who live in a house with a cat are less likely to develop sensitisation to cat allergens, in fact the majority of those with evidence of cat allergy had never lived in a house with a cat.

Diagnosis of allergy involves assessing symptoms, performing skin prick tests and in some cases blood allergy tests known as specific IgE or new molecular blood tests know as allergy array or ISAC (more information can be found here). This article discussed the benefits of using molecular blood tests to determine what specific part of the pet fur that a person is allergic to and what this means for treatment options which include avoiding the allergen or immunotherapy.  Molecular testing can now be ordered by your doctor in Australia  at a cost of $340-$370.

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