Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do hypoallergic pets exist?

Today's article is completely based on an article by Butt, Rashid and Lockey (in Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2012; 108: 74-6) titled "Do hypoallergenic cats and dogs exist?" The Allergy Dude gets asked about this frequently and he apologizes for not having an posting about this until now.  (No summary is available on PubMed.)  Their article reviewed the scientific evidence available about hypoallergenic dogs and cats.  First, why is this important?  17% of cat owners and 5% of dog owners are sensitized to their pets' dander.  We recognize that cat dander is generally more likely to cause allergies than dog dander.  Daily exposure to dander can significantly contribute to an increase in a patients' signs and symptoms of allergies both perennially and seasonally.  The vast majority of pet owners keep their pets despite being advised by their allergists to keep the pets outside of the house.  Many let the animals sleep in the bedroom.  Pet owners ask about available measures to reduce the accumulation of dander in the house.  No measures for bathing pets, or house cleaning, even using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, or having multiple HEPA air filtration devices can remove all of the dander shed by their pets.  The amounts of dander can be reduced.  My analogy is it's like walking up an endless sand dune.  It's hard to get ahead and it's a good bit of constant work in our already-too-busy lives.  Back to the article, despite the claims and endorsements on some companies website, multiple allergy associations have concluded that no evidence for hypoallergenic exists. The Allergy Dude completely agrees with this conclusion.  Sorry pet owners.  If this changes, as in incontrovertible evidence does become available, after The Allergy Dude invests heavily in said company then he will update this blog. 

7 comments:

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Claudia Rosenburg said...

This is a really good article! I am allergic to both cats and dogs, but I love pets and really want to get one. I can't imagine a future without a cat or a dog. Some hypoallergenic pets are expensive, but I think it will be worth it.
Claudia Rosenburg | The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC

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